Edible Electronics Made From Fish Ink Could Power Smart Pills
Batteries made from biodegradable pigments from cuttlefish ink could lead to alternate power sources for medical devices.
Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University have created prototype batteries using simple materials of biological origin from the cuttlefish — a type of cephalopod, like squid or octopus — instead of lithium and toxic electrolytes, that are not biocompatible.
The prototype sodium-ion battery uses melanin from cuttlefish ink for the anode and manganese oxide as the cathode. All the materials in the battery break down into nontoxic components in the body.
Creating “Smart Pills” with censors and circuits could let doctors deliver and release drugs absorbed into specific parts of the body that would otherwise be upsetting to the stomach, allowing patients to take drugs orally instead of via injection, making drug therapies easier to take. Edible electronics could also be used by athletes to monitor performance metrics.