Tag: battery

Scientists Use An Electrical Gradient In the Ear To Power A Tiny Device

By Ashley P. Taylor | November 9, 2012 10:49 am

hamster photo

Listen to this: Scientists, experimenting with guinea pigs, have used the electrical potential of the inner ear to power a 1-nanowatt wireless radio transmitter.

The cochlea, or inner ear, converts the mechanical energy of sound into electrical signals to the brain. The electrical potential in the ear comes from the difference in concentration of potassium ions in fluid separated by membranes in the inner ear, creating the equivalent of positive and negative poles of a battery.  To this cochlear battery, researchers hooked up a wireless radio transmitter, with a power of one nanowatt, one billionth of a watt (for reference, a typical lightbulb is 60 watts), which radioed a measurement of the ear’s electrical potential to the researchers, according to their report in Nature Biotechnology.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine
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