Someday soon if you need to charge your smartphone, you may just need to go to the bathroom. Scientists at the Bristol Robotics Lab in the UK have figured out a way to extract electricity from your pee to create a urine smartphone charger.
So how did they do it? Well, I’m not scientist, but here are the basics behind it. First, the scientists fill a collection of cylinders with electro-active micro-organisms. These tiny microbes love to feed off human waste such as urine. As part of this feeding process, electrons are created as a by-product. These electron by-products can then be used to create electricity. So far, they have been able to create enough electricity simply with urine to charge smartphones and even power some lights.
To learn a little more about it have a look at the video below:
Now, it is important to note that this is still in the very early stages of development, but the idea does go back a few years. In fact, the same scientists first created one of these urine batteries last year, but now they have advanced enough to charge our power hungry modern smartphones.
Professor Loannis Leropoulos, Director of the Bristol Bioenergy Centre, said: “This project is all about generating electricity from waste material. In other words, turning waste into something really, really useful. And the microbial fuel cell technology is something that does exactly that.
It takes the waste that we naturally produce and it converts it directly into electricity.”
The application of this technology is practically endless, with scientists already considering the use of this tech in disaster zones. Of course, many of us just look forward to the idea of peeing our smartphone back to the on position so we can get back to our email and text messaging. I have to admit it’s a pretty novel idea that could go a long way in the world, assuming we get over the “icky” factor of using urine for power.
Just think what this could mean. One day we could get an almost unlimited supply of energy just because we drank too much water. Not a bad idea if you ask me. This could go a long way toward solving many of our energy issues around the globe. Of course, this research is still in its infancy. So far, they have managed to harness the power of urine to charge a smartphone and even power a few lights, but the possibilities are endless.
The Bristol Robotics Laboratory has long been a leader in innovation in Europe. According to their website, “BRL is a unique collaboration that harnesses the collective strengths of its university partners, and brings together the best expertise from industry and the academic community to spearhead Britain’s efforts to be a world leader in modern advanced robotics”.
What do you think about the idea of peeing your way to power? Tell me your thoughts in the comments below. Do you think one day we will all be using this technology or will it be restricted to special areas and disaster zones?