Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have created ingestible batteries, that could make internal devices a possibility..
Developed by professors Christopher Bettinger and Jay Whitacre, from the materials science and engineering and biomedical engineering department at the institution, the idea stems from the need for a power source for biodegradable electronic materials that could have a number of medical benefits — timed drug delivery or health tracking, for example. The result is a non-toxic sodium ion battery that uses melanin derived from an organic material — cuttlefish ink. Since the ink is fairly commonly available, the cost of the edible batteries is low. The team says that the devices could be ingested in much the same way as a pill, without the need for prior sterilization, and any casing is biodegradable and deteriorates in the body. Combined with other technology, the batteries could have wide-ranging use — both medical and otherwise.