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Biotech Science

Harvesting Energy from the Human Body 160

Late-Eight writes "Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology are working on a new type of nanogenerator that could draw necessary energy from flowing blood in the human body. The hope is to incorporate the new nanogenerator into biosensors, environmental monitoring devices and even personal electronics that will require no fuel source, internal or external. Once completed, this new cellular engine could find various applications, even beyond medicine."
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Harvesting Energy from the Human Body

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  • by dido ( 9125 ) <> on Sunday July 22, 2007 @10:56AM (#19945919)

    They're talking microamperes and like 0.5 volts so that makes it about microwatts of power; one microwatt of power over the course of one day is something 0.0864 joules, or 0.021 calories, and those are normal calories, not the food calories (which are really kilocalories). Doesn't look like a whole lot, compared to the energy an average person consumes in a day (2000 kcal, that's two million calories!).

  • by ookabooka ( 731013 ) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @11:02AM (#19945967)
    Ugh, fine. . make me RTF :-p Yes I'd call it negligible, they say that their current design can do a few nanoamps at below 0.5v but hope to get a design that can pump out a microamp at 0.5v. Lets assume they perfected their "high-power" design and look at what it does. 0.000000001A is 1 microAmp, multiply that by 0.5v and you get 0.0000000005W or 0.5 microWatts. Having this thing run for 24 hours would give us 12 microwatt-hours which according to google is 0.0103250478 calories. So if it were 1% efficient (I'd be sure its quite a bit higher) it would draw about 1 calorie a day. . .or about 1/4 of a gram of sugar.
  • by E++99 ( 880734 ) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @11:34AM (#19946139) Homepage
    According to TFA, this should not be impairing blood flow, regardless of where it is installed. It is not some sort of hydroelectric... er, vitroelectric dam, rather, if I understand correctly, it is powered by harnessing the vibrations of the pulse itself, that are otherwise just absorbed by the vein walls.
  • Re:Harvesting Energy (Score:2, Informative)

    by Saurian_Overlord ( 983144 ) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @02:35PM (#19947441) Homepage
    Not exactly. Kinetic = motion. If you'll read the Wikipedia entry you linked to, it explains it quite simply. You could put a kinetic watch on a frequently-used doorknob and it would work just as well.

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan