A Cellphone Powered by Urine


Physicists in Singapore have developed a battery that can be powered by human urine. Aimed at disposable health-care kits for use in rural areas, we naturally couldn't pass up the opportunity to comment on such a product being used for those "emergency" phone calls when your conventional battery had died. Led by Dr Ki Bang Lee, a team at Singapore's Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology developed a paper battery which is designed to be cheap to produce, and use urine as its power charge source.

Using 0.2 ml of urine, the team were able to generate a voltage of around 1.5 Volts with a corresponding maximum power of 1.5 mW. Battery performance can also be adjusted by using different construction materials.

"Our urine-activated battery would be integrated into biochip systems for healthcare diagnostic applications," says Lee. He envisions a world where people will easily be able to monitor their health at home, seeking medical attention only when necessary. "These fully-integrated biochip systems have a huge market potential," adds Lee.

The battery is made from a layer of paper that is soaked in copper chloride (CuCl) and then sandwiched between strips of magnesium and copper. The final product has dimensions of 6cm x 3cm, and a thickness of just 1 mm.

The research was published in the Institute of Physics' Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering.