Using Cuttlefish to Develop Biodegradable Devices

The ink of a cuttlefish may be the next power source for biodegradable, edible batteries. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh are developing such devices using the animal's nature materials, according to an MIT Technology Review report.

The melanin in cuttlefish ink holds a higher charge storage capacity than synthetic anode materials in batteries, and the natural materials are safer to use near living tissue than conventional battery materials. Additionally, all the materials in the prototypic edible battery break down into nontoxic components, according to the report.

Traditional battery materials implanted inside the body are in protective cases that must be surgically removed, so natural, biodegradable batteries and devices could eliminate that step.

Edible batteries and medical devices present an opportunity to monitor wound healing, disease progression, drug delivery and use more sensitive sensors and stimulators, according to the report. The report also notes researchers are working on developing edible electronic medications that could administer certain protein-sensitive drugs orally instead of the traditional intravenous route.

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