Urine Powered Emergency Signal

(Image: Chemistry World)

It's possible to use human urine to generate electricity and the flow of inventions that have resulted from this discovery has increased over recent years. Here's one clever application. The Bristol BioEnergy Centre in the UK has developed a small, portable emergency signal that can be powered by peeing on it. It's shaped like a pyramid and is covered with a membrane for processing the urine. Polly Wilson of Chemistry World reports:

An external waterproofing layer made from three layers of a conductive latex solution avoids any unpleasant leaks and also doubles as the cathode. Electricity producing bacteria in the form of dormant biofilms quickly revive when fed urine, even after long periods of desiccation and cold storage. These clever constructs ensure the membrane and electrodes are in close proximity, and generate enough power to power a transceiver just 35 minutes after activation. A feat that biochemist Gajanan Ghodake, of Dongguk University in South Korea, finds ‘quite astounding’. And two cells connected in series broadcast radio signals through a transceiver at roughly 6 minute intervals for 24 hours; a potentially lifesaving signal for an explorer in trouble.

-via Dave Barry

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