In the future its hoped that body implants will be powered by new glucose biofuel cells rather than battery packs. The new glucose biofuel cells are capable of using the bodys sugar supply to generate the required electricity to power the implant.
Scientists have already implanted test fuel cells in rats which have now successfully generated electricity from the rodents body sugar and have been powering devices for months at a time.
Enzymes had to be used in past glucose biofuel cells to generate electricity but were unsuitable for implants because many required highly acidic conditions to work and were inhibited by a variety of ions found in the body.
The new glucose biofuel cell technology using the body sugar as a fuel supply could be used for a range of applications, including neural and bone-growth stimulators, drug delivery devices, insulin pumps, and biosensors according to Eileen Yu, a chemical engineer at Newcastle University.