This research presents an implantable, miniaturized power generating system, a biofuel cell, which scavenges power from living organisms. The system harvests carbohydrates such as sugars stored inside the organism and, via an enzyme catalyst, decomposes these carbohydrates to generate electrical power. Our initial target for these devices is as a power supply for cyborg beetles. Our group has previously developed cyborg beetles, live beetles driven by wireless neural stimulator mounted on the dorsal thorax (see BPN 451). The stimulators are currently powered by a conventional rechargeable lithium battery. The goal of this work is to employ the implantable biofuel cell to charge the lithium battery by using the insect's own sugar stores. Insects predominantly store trehalose which can be decomposed into two molecules of glucose by the enzyme trehalase. Glucose serves as an electron donor when catalyzed by oxidoreductases such as glucose oxidase or glucose dehydrogenase. Our biofuel cell uses both trehalase and glucose oxidoreductase at the anode. We will present modification of the electrode, its surface chemistry, implantation of the biofuel cell and whole system integration.
Project end date: 01/31/13