Scientists Successfully Harvest Energy from a Cockroach

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Scientists Successfully Harvest Energy from a Cockroach

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Scientists move us a little closer to the Matrix with electricity-generating cockroaches.

Someone warn Keanu Reeves! Scientists working at the Case Western Reserve University have managed to successfully generate electricity from chemicals found within a cockroach's stomach, using a hefty amount of science and a fancy biofuel implant straight out of Deus Ex.

The whole process is a little tricky to follow, but essentially what researchers have done is placed a biofuel cell in the cockroach's abdomen, and then used an enzyme to break down the complex sugars residing in the its digestive tract. The simpler sugars, called monosaccharides, are oxidized by another enzyme, causing it to release electrons, which in turn create electricity.

The total output of energy isn't very much, coming to a grand total of about 100 microwatts, meaning you'd need about 600,000 cockroach batteries to power up your average 60watt light bulb. The low-output hasn't stopped researchers from looking into shrinking the biofuel cell technology down so it can be fully implanted into an insect and coming with up with other kinds of implants like signal transmitters or measuring tools.

For those concerned for the cockroach's health throughout poking and prodding, researchers found that their multi-legged test subject "suffered no long-term damage, which bodes well for long-term use" in the event they're able to refine the biofuel cell technology any further.

"Insects have an open circulatory system so the blood is not under much pressure," explained Biology Professor Roy E. Ritzmann. "So, unlike say a vertebrate, where if you pushed a probe into a vein or worse an artery (which is very high pressure) blood does not come out at any pressure. So, basically, this is really pretty benign. In fact, it is not unusual for the insect to right itself and walk or run away afterward."

The full report can be found here for those wanting the whole grisly but educational details. Me, I'll be loading up on bug spray for the coming cyber-insect war.

Source: Oh Gizmo! Via Dvice

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Step 1: Build a massive building

Step 2: Fill it with Cockroaches and do this to them.

Step 3: ????

Step 4: Profit!

Seriously though, I kind of find this unsettling for some reason <.<

WMDogma:

Someone warn Keanu Reeves!

Keanu Reeves is immortal, so I'm sure he's seen far worse than this already.
It's a shame that even he will never live to see any sequels to The Matrix. Good thing too, I think - they'd only serve to tarnish a classic.

WMDogma:

For those concerned for the cockroach's health throughout poking and prodding, researchers found that their multi-legged test subject "suffered no long-term damage, which bodes well for long-term use" in the event they're able to refine the biofuel cell technology any further.

I found this amusing since cockroaches can survive without their head and really still be considered as suffering no long-term damage. Okay, they starve because they have no head, but still.

Sorry, but an iPhone or Blackberry powered on theese would be simply hilarious.

And i doubt cockroaches are suddenly going to become cyborg mega-bugs from something like that, on its own at least.

One step closer to the human centipad!

oh my god.

let me crush that thing, frickin disgusting cockroach.

the matrix, not concerned about

METROIDS, very concerned about o.o;;

first step toward floating, energy sucking, jelly fish, calling it now

WMDogma:
The total output of energy isn't very much, coming to a grand total of about 100 microwatts, meaning you'd need about 600,000 cockroach batteries to power up your average 60watt light bulb.

Is that all? I'm pretty sure the city of New York can power the entire country, then.

I just have to ask, can we moddify this for use on people?

imagine the possibilities. immagine if your smart phone was attached to you and never ran out of battery life. imagine you sat down at a computer to work, and it helped power the office building you were in.

This could be one of the most important technologies ever if we can harness it.

Super villain: Voltroach.

... Is anyone else thinking of the Mass Effect husks when they read this?

It's weird to me that people think they are better than a cockroach. I think you have more in common with them than you realize. Scurry around all day contributing nothing to society and pooping and pissing everywhere. It's not easy to keep you alive because you desire to eat everyday and demand a place to live. I can't go anywhere without seeing your kind doing stuff all day that doesn't matter. So the next time you left up your fridge and cockroaches scatter everywhere, imagine it's people.

Shawn MacDonald:
It's weird to me that people think they are better than a cockroach. I think you have more in common with them than you realize. Scurry around all day contributing nothing to society and pooping and pissing everywhere. It's not easy to keep you alive because you desire to eat everyday and demand a place to live. I can't go anywhere without seeing your kind doing stuff all day that doesn't matter. So the next time you left up your fridge and cockroaches scatter everywhere, imagine it's people.

... I feel like I should critique this. Right, let's do this.

It's weird to me that people think they are better than a cockroach.

It's actually not that weird at all, actually. Cockroaches generally aren't liked by humans. They happen to be associated with eating our food and not being healthy for us when in close proximity.

I think you have more in common with them than you realize.

Aside from our biology, thinking capabilities, basic physical capabilities... but continue, please.

Scurry around all day contributing nothing to society and pooping and pissing everywhere.

... Don't look at me like that, I'm a University student! Besides, the toilets in my place broke down, so I basically have no other choice until they're fixed. On the bright side, I at least go to public bathrooms and not the 'everywhere' that you're imagining.

It's not easy to keep you alive because you desire to eat everyday and demand a place to live.

See: every other species on the planet.

I can't go anywhere without seeing your kind doing stuff all day that doesn't matter.

I - I can't really make a good argument with this one, I'll give you that.

So the next time you left up your fridge and cockroaches scatter everywhere, imagine it's people.

Because phoning up an exterminator will help soothe your conscious as you "imagine" all the people you're paying to kill. Nice one, jerk.

---

Okay, so I see you're trying to compare humans with cockroaches because you're displeased with how we conduct ourselves in society or the larger world somehow, I get that. You unfortunately happened to have chosen the wrong place to make an issue of this, that is, on a gaming news website.

Redlin5:
Step 1: Build a massive building

Step 2: Fill it with Cockroaches and do this to them.

Step 3: ????

Step 4: Profit!

Seriously though, I kind of find this unsettling for some reason <.<

I guess Step 3 would logically be "Never pay for electricity ever again." Instead of wires and such running throughout the walls of the buildings we would just have billions and billions of cockroaches. Oh, the opportunities that would create for the clever/slightly evil business owner...

"Alright now, local high school cheerleading squad, welcome to Bio-Roach Inc."
"Ummm, yeah, like, why do you call it 'Bio-Roach'?"
"Well Tiffany, why don't you open up that hatch on the wall and find out..."

with the amount of resources used in this stupid ass reasearch....we could have been one step closer to going to mars, cureing AIDS, reducing Cancer, or finding a way to make michael moore stop being so fat......fuck you modern day scientist.

Not to be that guy but, in the matrix the robots used the body heat for power. Otherwise I don't see anything practical from this.

Jegsimmons:
with the amount of resources used in this stupid ass reasearch....we could have been one step closer to going to mars, cureing AIDS, reducing Cancer, or finding a way to make michael moore stop being so fat......fuck you modern day scientist.

... are you a cockroach?

Redlin5:
Step 1: Build a massive building

Step 2: Fill it with Cockroaches and do this to them.

Step 3: ????

Step 4: Profit!

Seriously though, I kind of find this unsettling for some reason <.<

You mean besides the fact that if they worked together they could bring down our entire electrical system?

Jegsimmons:
with the amount of resources used in this stupid ass reasearch....we could have been one step closer to going to mars, cureing AIDS, reducing Cancer, or finding a way to make michael moore stop being so fat......fuck you modern day scientist.

Pretty sure creating a biocell that you can implant into anything could factor into any number of uses.

While any new energy sources are always a good thing I would still have to say that this well and truely proves that scientists have way too much free time on their hands.

Honestly, who wakes up one morning and thinks to themselves 'Today I think I'll stick power cables in a cockroach and see what happens'?

Shawn MacDonald:
It's weird to me that people think they are better than a cockroach.

As a great man once said, 'show me a Cultural relativist at 50,000 feet and I'll show you a hypocrite'.

I don't think I need to go into detail about the ways a human being is obviously superior to a cockroach (the fact that we can have this discussion would be a good start).

I think you have more in common with them than you realize.

Oh yeah, such as...er...the fact that both are living things?

Scurry around all day contributing nothing to society and pooping and pissing everywhere.

In my experience it's most often those who complain about people leeching and not contributing to society who are themselves contributing the least to society.

As for the pooping and pissing I think you'll find most people are fully toilet trained at a fairly young age.

It's not easy to keep you alive because you desire to eat everyday and demand a place to live.

Tell that to the thousands of homeless people in the western world and those who live in constant fear of genocide and starvation in developing countries.

I can't go anywhere without seeing your kind doing stuff all day that doesn't matter.

I too am still haunted by memories of the Sudoku craze.

So the next time you left up your fridge and cockroaches scatter everywhere, imagine it's people.

Is it just me or can I picture someone saying that before committing a school shooting?

Whoops, wrong thread.

Jegsimmons:
with the amount of resources used in this stupid ass reasearch....we could have been one step closer to going to mars, cureing AIDS, reducing Cancer, or finding a way to make michael moore stop being so fat......fuck you modern day scientist.

Congratulations! They can now implant biocells into our astronauts that are going to mars that allow them to power their suits and thus refresh their water and oxygen just by living!

and research into cybernetics could potentially help cure diseases!

Plus if this research burns off sugars then it will help michael moore stop being so fat! though he will keep being pants on head retarded.

This is great news! We may not be able to nuke the roaches out of existence but we're coming close to the day when an EMP could do the trick! I see what's going on here Science, you cleaver minx.

Iron Mal:
While any new energy sources are always a good thing I would still have to say that this well and truely proves that scientists have way too much free time on their hands.

Honestly, who wakes up one morning and thinks to themselves 'Today I think I'll stick power cables in a cockroach and see what happens'?

Shawn MacDonald:
It's weird to me that people think they are better than a cockroach.

As a great man once said, 'show me a Cultural relativist at 50,000 feet and I'll show you a hypocrite'.

I don't think I need to go into detail about the ways a human being is obviously superior to a cockroach (the fact that we can have this discussion would be a good start).

I think you have more in common with them than you realize.

Oh yeah, such as...er...the fact that both are living things?

Scurry around all day contributing nothing to society and pooping and pissing everywhere.

In my experience it's most often those who complain about people leeching and not contributing to society who are themselves contributing the least to society.

As for the pooping and pissing I think you'll find most people are fully toilet trained at a fairly young age.

It's not easy to keep you alive because you desire to eat everyday and demand a place to live.

Tell that to the thousands of homeless people in the western world and those who live in constant fear of genocide and starvation in developing countries.

I can't go anywhere without seeing your kind doing stuff all day that doesn't matter.

I too am still haunted by memories of the Sudoku craze.

So the next time you left up your fridge and cockroaches scatter everywhere, imagine it's people.

Is it just me or can I picture someone saying that before committing a school shooting?

Wow. Thats all I have to say to that. Not only did you not hit the dartboard, but it flew outside and popped a car tire.

Anyone who cant see the potential and/or usefullness of this technology have a realy poor imagination imho...

Sure, it might to be to usefull on a roach, but imagen if the technology can be adapted to work on humans.

Artificial limbs or organs all require an electrical power source.

gigastar:
Sorry, but an iPhone or Blackberry powered on theese would be simply hilarious.

Even better, the marketing campaign to get douchebags to use them.

Oh science, don't ever change.

CalPal:
... Is anyone else thinking of the Mass Effect husks when they read this?

I cannot believe that I didn't think of that. Now all scientists have to do is make a big spike that does the whole biocell implanting process by itself and we'll be one step closer to being the reapers!

Now they just need to apply it to harvest energy from trees.

darthotaku:
I just have to ask, can we moddify this for use on people?

imagine the possibilities. immagine if your smart phone was attached to you and never ran out of battery life. imagine you sat down at a computer to work, and it helped power the office building you were in.

This could be one of the most important technologies ever if we can harness it.

Kind of related to this news article which was posted here on the Escapist october last year. It's a very viable possibility for the future.

The future will be awesome.

Jegsimmons:
with the amount of resources used in this stupid ass reasearch....we could have been one step closer to going to mars, cureing AIDS, reducing Cancer, or finding a way to make michael moore stop being so fat......fuck you modern day scientist.

Not sure if serious.

In case you are:

Did you consider the possibilities for prosthetic limbs that don't need external power sources, but can be powered by the food you eat? What about bio-fueled eye implants to allow blind people to see again?

Next step: find a gene that does this automatically and activate it. That would be cool. Maybe it could even work in humans D:

I can't wait until I can charge my phone by having it in my pocket, near the biofuel cell in my leg.

gmaverick019:
oh my god.

let me crush that thing, frickin disgusting cockroach.

Aw, that was a bit harsh.

I know we tend to be disgusted by little critters. I know I used to crush cockroaches because I thought they were dirty little things that made us sick.

Then we got snakes and lizards and skinks and whatnot... and cockroaches turned out to be a prime food source. So we got started with breeding roaches.

Meanwhile, I couldn't imagine life without having some hundred cockroaches in their designated space. They eat all our refuse, such as potato skins, and turn them into non-smelly pebbles of dry fertilizer. They organize themselves in rather elaborate manners, and some species are actually giving birth to live little roaches. It still freaks people out, but it's actually rather cute. And as long as the critters are white, they're still soft and perfect food for just about any other animal.

Once you allow yourself to learn more about how roaches live and watch them do their thing all day or all night long, I can assure you you'll be amazed - they are special little critters that really serve more purpose than our beloved furry friends, be they cats or dogs, to be honest. And they even clean up after themselves, would you believe it. No shedded skin or unhatched egg goes to waste... they recycle everything. They are wonderful and amazing bugs, and you wouldn't believe how refined and strong the bigger ones amongst them can be.

If you want to learn about survival, the cockroach really turns out to be the perfect organism. Not that I would want to be a cockroach, mind you, but their resilience is mind-blowing.

Jegsimmons:
with the amount of resources used in this stupid ass reasearch....we could have been one step closer to going to mars, cureing AIDS, reducing Cancer, or finding a way to make michael moore stop being so fat......fuck you modern day scientist.

Because every scientist works on the same things, amirite? It's not like "science" is a broad term for many different fields, including but not limited to physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, geology, astronomy... Nope. It's all just a bunch of guys in labcoats all huddled around a cockroach. Yes. There aren't any other scientists doing other experiments, any other studies. If you have a fucking labcoat, you were in on this experiment. And finding a new energy source can't possibly have any positive outcome. Figuring out how to most efficiently harvest and utilize this new energy won't at all inspire innovation from anyone.

The cockroach would still require nutrients (Food) to last.

Nyeh.

Poor cockroaches...Leave them alone! How sick the human mind can be?!

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