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Researchers develop stretchable textile-based biobattery

A team of researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York has developed a stretchable biobattery made entirely from textile material and which is powered by bacteria. 

The scientists published a paper about their work in US peer-reviewed journal Advanced Energy Materials in December. The technology has potential applications in wearable electronics. 

Their research has revealed that the textile-based biobattery can produce maximum power similar to that produced by previous paper-based microbial fuel cells. It exhibits stable electricity-generating capability when tested under repeated stretching and twisting cycles. 

Microbial fuel cells such as this one are considered to be a suitable power source for wearable electronics as the whole microbial cell acts as a biocatalyst to provide stable reactions and a long lifetime. Sweat from the human body is a potential fuel for the bacteria. 

Professor Seokheun Choi, electrical and computer engineering assistant at Binghamton University and team leader of this project, has said the stretchable power device could become “a standardised platform for textile-based biobatteries” and could be integrated into wearable electronics in the future. 

“There is a clear and pressing need for flexible and stretchable electronics that can be easily integrated with a wide range of surroundings to collect real-time information,” Professor Choi explained. “Those electronics must perform reliably even while intimately used on substrates with complex and curvilinear shapes, like moving body parts or organs.”

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