Germs power new paper batteries

paper battery
paper battery

Engineers in upstate New York have invented a folded paper device that looks like a decorated art project. But don’t be fooled. This is actually a paper-based battery. No, it doesn’t look like any of those metal batteries running flashlights or smartphones. This alternative to electronics is based on paper. It represents a step forward in the field of papertronics (short for paper electronics). In these systems, the battery can be printed on a page. Well, most of it can: The battery’s power consists of living bacteria.

Paper electronics are simple to make and inexpensive, notes study leader Seokheun Choi. He’s an enginee at Binghamton University, part of the State University of New York system. These batteries also would be flexible and disposable, he adds. And powered by germs, they need no electrical outlet to recharge. They just need more bacteria, which can be found everywhere — including in dirty water.

Most batteries use chemicals to generate electricity. Substituting bacteria can be an advantage, Choi says. “They are cheap, self-repairing and self-maintained,” he notes. What paper-based batteries won’t do is generate much power. They do, however, create enough to run small devices in faraway or dangerous places — such as a battlefield. They might also find use in medicine. For instance, they might power tiny sensors, such as the types used to measure blood sugar.

Choi and Yang Gao, also at Binghamton, describe their new invention in the January 2017 issue of Advanced Materials Technology.

Such devices are based on an observation made more than a century ago — that microbes produce a trickle of electricity as they digest food. Scientists refer to the bio-batteries based on this principle as microbial fuel cells.

A fuel cell generates electricity like a regular battery. But a regular battery stops producing electricity when its internal…

The 5 Best Cloth Napkins

Everyone needs napkins, which can be costly, but there’s a way that you can save money on this daily necessity. How? With reusable cloth napkins. By washing and reusing your cloth napkins, you can save a significant amount of money over time (compared to buying disposable paper napkins).

What Are Cloth Napkins?

Reusable cloth napkins are used to clean up messes or wipe your hands and face while eating. They are usually made of cotton, polyester, or a blend of the two, and come in all different colors and designs to suit your style or the occasion. They can be reused and washed many times to help reduce waste.

They are ideal for holidays, weddings, dinner parties, and other special occasions where paper napkins just won’t cut it. They are also great for everyday use in restaurants, hotels, and the home. You can choose quality cloth napkins in a color that complements your tableware, or a color that stands apart for a decorative touch.

Top 5 Cloth Napkins

Cotton Dinner Napkins by Utopia Kitchen

Amazon’s #1 best-seller in cloth napkins, the 12-pack of 18×18 Cotton Dinner Napkins by Utopia Kitchen are wrinkle-resistant, fade-resistant, and stain-resistant. The luxury premium cloth napkins are of durable, hotel quality. They have a generous hem and are made of 65% cotton, 35% polyester blended fabric for optimal softness and longevity. They are available in a range of colors and can be folded into a variety of styles to suit your table decor. They are one of the “most wished for” items on Amazon and have more than 800 five-star reviews on Amazon.

Cotton Craft…

Young South African Inventor Makes Bricks From Recycled Paper

Aiming to reduce pollution and expand his country’s limited housing options, a South African inventor has created Nubrix, a brick made of recycled paper, France 24’s The Observers reports.

Elijah Djan, 21, is an industrial engineering student at the University of Pretoria. His innovative construction material has been years in the making: As a kid, Djan witnessed his father, a lecturer, burning old textbooks, and was inspired to take action. “I knew that it was bad for the environment, but my dad said he wouldn’t stop doing it unless I had a better idea for how to use the paper,” Djan says.

Djan watched a documentary on South Africa’s low-income housing shortage (as of 2011, nearly 2 million…

High-Tech Paper Could Be Reused Up to 80 Times

Even in an increasingly digital world, there’s still a need for printed text. But wasting paper could be a thing of the past with new technology under development by a research team from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; the University of California, Riverside; and China’s Shandong University. This new paper is printed with light instead of ink, allowing it to be reused up to dozens of times, Co.Design reports.

The paper, described in Nano Letters, is blue rather than white, and it’s covered in a nanoparticle coating that is sensitive to UV light. These titanium dioxide nanoparticles are mixed with Prussian blue pigment (the blue color in blueprints), which becomes colorless when its…

These Cardboard Drones Are (Highly Useful) Paper Airplanes for the Military

The U.S. military has started playing with paper airplanes. DARPA, the Defense Department’s technology lab, is funding research into inexpensive, biodegradable cardboard drones that can deliver supplies and then disappear, as the MIT Technology Review reports.

Designed by Otherlab, Aerial Platform Supporting Autonomous Resupply Actions (APSARA) gliders are made of heavy-duty cardboard that ships flat, like IKEA furniture. They’re cheap to mass-produce, so it’s not risky to send them into remote areas where the military might otherwise lose another pricey drone. Soldiers can assemble them in the field if necessary.

There’s no engine…