Cockroaches have been on this planet longer than humans have been – these insects are a study in resilience, as they are very hard to kill and adapt in different environments. To this effect, a research team made up of scientists from the Osaka University and the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology are working together on a project that has developed a fuel cell system that will utilize the bugs’ internal system to provide a long-term power system that could generate enough juice for a small sensor.
Now, imagine a whole lot of cockroaches (yes, we know) with wireless sensors on their backs, creating a veritable self-powered wireless sensor network. The little fuel cell that is attached to the roaches generates electric power by using trehalose, a bodily sugar from the roach’s body fluid. The fuel cell system has electrodes, a tank of body fluid, and a needle that is inserted into the bug. This system using the bugs’ sugars as fuel for electricity is able to generate 50.2 μW (microwatts) of power, enough to operate a small wireless sensor. The research team can now design specific sensors for their own needs, and create a network of sensors that use the fuel cell system on roaches as a power source – a power source that can operate for long periods of time, since the cyborg bugs secrete the fluid internally.
The technology has been available for a while now. This just opens up a long list of possibilities, lets the cyborg bugs work without needing any battery replacement and possibly, only a nibble of leftover pizza to replenish. Just so they don’t mutate into gigantic cyborg insects though, because that would be scary to whole new terrifying levels.
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