From Science Daily:

A new disposable battery that folds like an origami ninja star could power biosensors and other small devices for use in challenging field conditions, says an engineer at Binghamton University, State University of New York.

Seokheun “Sean” Choi, assistant professor of computer and electrical engineering at Binghamton University, along with two of his students, developed the device, a microbial fuel cell that runs on the bacteria available in a few drops of dirty water. They report on their invention in a new paper published online in the journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics.

Choi previously developed a paper-based origami battery. The first design, shaped like a matchbook, stacked four modules together. The ninja star version, which measures about 2.5 inches wide, boasts increased power and voltage, with eight small batteries connected in series.

“Last time, it was a proof of concept. The power density was in the nanowatt range,” said Choi. “This time, we increased it to the microwatt range. We can light an LED for about 20 minutes or power other types of biosensors.”

Paper-based biosensors include pregnancy tests and HIV tests. The sensitivity of such tests is limited, Choi said, and a battery like his could allow the use of more sophisticated fluorescent or electrochemical biosensors in developing countries. “Commercially available batteries are too wasteful and expensive for the field,” he said. “Ultimately, I’d like to develop instant, disposable, accessible bio-batteries for use in resource-limited regions.”

The new design folds into a star with one inlet at its center and…

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