Silicone implants that generate 'leccy invented for US spooks

Katie Price will never need to buy batteries again


In news sure to delight topheavy Z-list celebrities everywhere, US boffins funded by shadowy federal agencies say they have developed a new kind of silicone implant which can generate electrical power from the movements of the bodily area in which it is placed.

The new technology, developed at Princeton University in the States, involves adding piezo-electric lead zirconate titanate (PZT) to silicone, creating a material which generates electricity when squeezed, mashed or wobbled.

"Because the silicone is biocompatible, it is already used for cosmetic implants," note the Princeton engineers.

"Natural body movements [could] power pacemakers, mobile phones and other electronic devices."

"The new electricity-harvesting devices could be implanted in the body to power devices perpetually, and the body wouldn't reject them," adds Michael McAlpine, Princeton engineering prof.

The boffins describe their revolutionary new implantable power-generation tech as "piezo-rubber chips".

"The beauty of this is that it's scalable," said Yi Qi, a postdoctoral researcher who works with McAlpine. "As we get better at making these chips, we'll be able to make [the power units] larger and larger."

Exact performance figures on the kit aren't given, but it seems that some users at least might be able to generate substantial amounts of power. Famously be-funbagged cross-platform media node Katie Price/Jordan, for instance, was memorably described as nothing more than "two bags of silicone" recently - she would presumably be able to jumpstart a truck merely by loosening her lingerie and doing a few brisk knee bends.

Intriguingly in this context, the Princeton team specifies that the kit can also work in reverse, rather as a normal electrical generator can also function as a motor. If power is supplied to the silicone piezo-modules from an external source, they can be made to flex, bulge or oscillate.

Perhaps most interestingly of all, McAlpine and his colleagues' research was funded by the United States Intelligence Community - "a cooperative of federal intelligence and national security agencies".

Just why the US spooks would be looking into perpetual in-body power supplies is unlikely to be revealed. However, the possibilities range from cybernetically enhanced super-agents to the rumoured existence of implantable tracker bug technology of some kind, perhaps placed in or on prisoners during the Wars on Stuff. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Apple wins Epic court ruling: Devs will pay up for now as legal case churns on

    Previous injunction that ordered company to allow non-Apple payments systems is suspended

    Apple will not be required to implement third-party in-app payments systems for its App Store by 9 December, after a federal appeals court temporarily suspended the initial ruling on Wednesday.

    As part of its ongoing legal spat with Epic, a judge from the Northern District Court of California said Apple wasn’t a monopoly, but agreed it’s ability to swipe up to a 30 per cent fee in sales processed in iOS apps was uncompetitive. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ordered an injunction, giving the iGiant 90 days to let developers add links or buttons in their apps to direct users to third-party purchasing systems.

    Those 90 days were set to end on 9 December. If developers were allowed to process financial transactions using external systems they wouldn’t have to hand over their profits to Apple, they argued. When Apple tried to file for a motion to stay, which would pause the injunction until it filed an appeal, Rogers denied its request.

    Continue reading
  • Meg Whitman – former HP and eBay CEO – nominated as US ambassador to Kenya

    Donated $110K to Democrats in recent years

    United States president Joe Biden has announced his intention to nominate former HPE and eBay CEO Meg Whitman as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Kenya.

    The Biden administration's announcement of the planned nomination reminds us that Whitman has served as CEO of eBay, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Quibi. Whitman also serves on the boards of Procter & Gamble, and General Motors.

    The announcement doesn't remind readers that Whitman has form as a Republican politician – she ran for governor of California in 2010, then backed the GOP's Mitt Romney in his 2008 and 2012 bids for the presidency. She later switched political allegiance and backed the presidential campaigns of both Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden.

    Continue reading
  • Ex-Qualcomm Snapdragon chief turns CEO at AI chip startup MemryX

    Meet the new boss

    A former executive leading Qualcomm's Snapdragon computing platforms has departed the company to become CEO at an AI chip startup.

    Keith Kressin will lead product commercialization for MemryX, which was founded in 2019 and makes memory-intensive AI chiplets.

    The company is now out of stealth mode and will soon commercially ship its AI chips to non-tech customers. The company was testing early generations of its chips with industries including auto and robotics.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021