Science Ahoy!

a legacy of our discomgoogolation

Posts Tagged ‘Biology

Something’s Fishy

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Electricity from coal? yes.  Wind? yes. Sun? yes.  Atoms? yes.

Fish?

Applying modern engineering design tools to one of the basic units of life, they [researchers at Yale University and the National Institute of Standards and Technology] argue that artificial cells could be built that not only replicate the electrical behavior of electric eel cells but in fact improve on them. Artificial versions of the eel’s electricity generating cells could be developed as a power source for medical implants and other tiny devices, they say.

It seems electric eels have special cells called electrocytes that can generate electric potentials of up to 600 volts. The article goes on to say that

LaVan and partner Jian Xu developed a complex numerical model to represent the conversion of ion concentrations to electrical impulses and tested it against previously published data on electrocytes and nerve cells to verify its accuracy. Then they considered how to optimize the system to maximize power output by changing the overall mix of channel types.

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Written by Elgie Shepard

October 4, 2008 at 11:18 am