One of the problems with having a smart phone is the power source. In order to stay connected you have to carry with you a power source in case your battery runs low. Certainly as employers we want our employees who use those devices to be able to stay connected. So we carry power cords, or have car chargers, or little power storage devices that can instantly charge our smart devices. What if you had an alternative power source that you already carry with you all the time, one that was not subject to the vagaries of the sun or wind? Well the solution is not far off, the only problem is that is comes with an “ick” factor that most of us would not want.
“Urine” in control of the power
According to an article in the Business Insider British scientists have been able to successfully power a cell phone using urine as the power source. Yes, you read that correctly. The article states “Researchers from the University of Bristol and Bristol Robotics Laboratory in south west England said they had created a fuel cell that uses bacteria to break down urine to generate electricity.” They got it to provide enough power to be able to send texts and surf the Internet. The research team grew bacteria on carbon fiber anodes and placed them inside ceramic cylinders. The bacteria broke down chemicals in urine passed through the cylinders, producing a small amount of electrical charge which was stored on a capacitor.
The technology is not quite ready for the market, however. Currently the storage device is the size of a car battery. The technology is called a microbial fuel power stack. They are hoping to reduce the size of the device to make it more practical for powering all sorts of domestic devices.
Of course reading this information conjured up all sorts of visions and thoughts. I can envision a scenario such as “Oops, wait my phone is running out of power… zip…ahhh… OK I am go to talk more.” Killing two birds with one stone, so to speak.
I am not too sure how easily this technology will be embraced. Men will most likely be the earlier adopters, I will let you imagine the reasons why. Certainly women will most likely have a bigger “ick” reaction. So the next time you complain about having to carry power cords or alternative chargers just think it could be worse.
Sign up for free HR Solutions updates via email