Snails that Produce Electricity Could Lead to an Army of Insect Cyborgs

© Clarkson University

When it comes to animals, electricity is more often associated with the Energy Bunny than with the snail- but that may be about to change. Researchers at Clarkson University have successfully implanted a biofuel cell in a living snail. The cell produces electrical energy using the snail's natural glucose as fuel.

According to Clarkson, the snail will be able to operate normally in a natural environment, while producing energy when the electrodes implanted in it are connected to an external circuit.

It's likely that implanting biofuel cells in living creatures and using them for power will draw the ire of animal rights activists. Just how the process impacts the snails is unclear so far. According to Evgeny Katz, the Milton Kerker Chaired Professor of Colloid Science, who led the project: "The animals are quite fit — they eat, drink and crawl. We take care to keep them alive and happy.”

This technology is in its infancy, but the idea is eventually to create cyborgs that can perpetually power themselves. Not surprisingly, Nature reports, the Department of Defense is interested. Snail cyborg soldiers: an idea for a movie if there ever was one.

Tags: Animals | Electricity | Energy

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