Temporary Tattoo Sensors Create Sweat-Fueled Biobatteries

Postdoctoral students including Wenzhao Jia, at the University of California at San Diego imprinted a flexible lactate sensor onto temporary tattoo paper containing an enzyme that removes electrons from lactate, producing a weak electrical current. The sensor simplifies the measurement of lactate, which is naturally present in sweat and an important indicator of how one is performing during exercise. (prototype development, read more...)

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The tattoo sensor led the team on a quest to create a perspiration powered bio-battery. The battery's "anode" contains the enzyme that removes electrons from lactate, and the "cathode" contains a molecule that accepts the electrons.

The new approach was announced at the 248th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world's largest scientific society, held Aug. 12-14 in San Francisco, Calif. Using renewable sources (in this case, sweat), the bio-batteries are certainly safer than traditional batteries, which can explode or leak toxic chemicals. (product design, read more...)

For testing, 15 volunteers wore the bio-battery as they exercised on a stationary bike. Less-fit people produced a greater amount of power than those who were moderately or very fit. The team determined that less-fit people became fatigued sooner, causing glycolysis (a producer of energy and lactate) to kick in earlier and form more lactate. (circuit design, read more...)

Posted from: Electronic Design magazine, September 2014 edition

Author: Electronic Design

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