FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Bacteria-Powered Nanotech

What better power source for nano-scale robots than something microscopic? Researchers at Rice University and the University of Southern California are experimenting with a strain of bacteria that, like a miniscule electric eel, generates its own electricity.

Shewanella oneidensis eats metal (mmmm...), and excretes electrons stripped from the metal in the form of electricity. Theoretically, these organisms could be built into a battery to provide a long-lasting charge, powering a device that is either extremely small, requires an exceptionally long-lasting power source, or both.

Using organisms as an energy source is a burgeoning field. Indeed, no less a figure than Dr. Craig Venter, the scientist who first mapped the human genome, is behind a startup in this area.

Source: CNET