Biocompatible batteries for ‘sensors of the future’

click to enlarge Pointer to the Future. Implantable medical sensors and devices have a main drawback–their power source. Current batteries are bulky and must be manually removed. External power transference means fairly bulky outside and inside devices.

What if the sensor and batteries could simply dissolve harmlessly in the body when no longer needed?

Research from John Rogers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his team first led to biodegradable (in the body) electronics in 2012, and now dissolving batteries (above). Composed of metals such as tungsten, iron and magnesium, once dissolved they are biocompatible in small doses. (In fact, the last two are taken in health supplements). At present, the batteries have a short life–just over a day. The Rogers team predicts that future batteries would be just a single micrometre thick and last considerably longer. Devices and batteries which are here today, dissolved tomorrow. Mainstream article in The Independent. Nature articles: battery and electronics (2012) (Advanced Materials journal requires paid access)

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