The Origami Battery That Will Save Lives

One engineer has made a battery out of paper

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© 2017 Seokheun Choi

 Seokheun Choi, an engineer at Binghampton University has developed an incredible new inexpensive, foldable paper battery that is powered entirely by bacteria found in liquid - including water.

Seokheun Choi, an engineer at Binghampton University has developed an incredible new inexpensive, foldable paper battery that is powered entirely by bacteria found in liquid - including water.

An amazing innovation that will help power communities in remote areas with limited resources, Choi discovered that bacteria is perfectly capable of generating enough power in order to run simple sensors. “Dirty water has a lot of organic matter. Any type of organic material can be the source of bacteria for the bacterial metabolism”, he explained

Generating power microbial respiration, it delivers energy to run a paper-based biosensor with only a simple drop of liquid (that has bacteria).

The battery folds into the size of matchbook and is made up of paper, nickel, carbon and wax - all materials which are easily and cheaply found. The entire device costs a mere 5 cents.

In fact, it’s so inexpensive and readily available (paper), it will most likely have a large effect for experts working on disease control and prevention particularly in the developing world.

“Paper is cheap and it’s biodegradable”, Choi reminds us.

Currently, paper-based sensors that monitor biological properties require a hand-held device. But Choi is already envisioning an entirely self-powered and sustainable system where paper-based batteries create microwatts of power to run the biosensor. Ultimately, his goal is to build a lasting tool for the developing world which will help diagnosis diseases cheaply.