categories ... such as nanotechnology

Spray-on batteries grown by...viruses?

Posted: 08/27/10 06:00 AM

The American Chemical Society just wrapped up its national meeting in Boston, and among the presentations, a lot of interesting work on batteries.

We love battery news here at Future Tense.

And actually, judging from the papers presented, there’s a battery revolution brewing right now. Scientists are envisioning batteries as something light and flexible, something you could spray onto surfaces or even weave into clothing. All with the chemical help of creatures we usually don’t find so helpful: viruses.

But the researchers are quick to note these are not viruses that attack humans. They’re specialized strains that usually latch onto bacteria or plants. In the lab, they can be used to grow tiny cathodes and anodes, the building blocks of battery cells. These new kinds of batteries could replace bulky battery packs of the sort soldiers have to carry in the field.

And if that’s not wild enough, other scientists presented their research on using mitochondria to power fuel cells. As an ACS press release describes it

The device consists of a thin layer of mitochondria sandwiched between two electrodes, including a gas-permeable electrode. Tests showed that it produced electricity using sugar or cooking oil byproducts as fuel.

Because what cyborg-like tiny fuel cell doesn’t like an occasional chip and soda?

Comments | Filed Under: batteries chemistry nanotechnology jb

today's show

What will we do with all this "white space"?

09/26/10 11:15 AM

There’s a vote coming up this week in Washington that will have a big impact on how you use the internet, what’s available to you, how much faster you’ll be able to get things online. On Thursday, the FCC is expected to open up unused parts of the broadcast spectrum, a lot of people call it “white space”. This is space that was positioned to be something of a buffer between television stations but such padding is proving less essential since the conversion to digital TV.

On today’s show, we talk to Glenn Fleishman from Wi-Fi Networking News and The Economist about how the spectrum works and what kind of new space we’re talking about. We also check in with Tim Wu from Columbia Law School about the companies that will look to use the space and what it all might mean for you and me as internet consumers.

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