back to article Boffins build cyborg snails to generate electricity

A team of scientists have successfully implanted a bioelectronic fuel cell into a living organism and used its blood sugar to charge a battery. The team from Potsdam, New York's Clarkson University (thankfully nothing to do with Top Gear) implanted a fuel cell that runs off glucose that is naturally produced by the snail, and …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There is no snail.

    Errr yeah. I got nothin'.


  2. Joefish

    Re: There is no snail.

    Something about using them to power an electric car and painting a big 'S' logo on the bonnet, roof and doors...

    No, you're right. Dead in the water.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: There is no snail.

    Yay, look at that S car go!

    But seriously - you need 6 million snails to generate 1 watt of continuous output? What's the input power in terms of lettuces per hour?

  4. Bill Neal

    Re: There is no snail.

    a lettuce lattice for your snail matrix? Surely they would be fed by some liquid/paste nutrient suppliment

  5. annodomini2 Bronze badge

    land mine substitute considered...

    The snails have been found to be breeding like wildfire surrounding nuclear fission power plants, the newly mutated strain can generate a highly effective taser effect.

    While they are doing a fantastic job of keeping the nut jobs trying to steal fissile material away from the installations, they are also eating them.

    The largest examples are currently 1m in length and unfortunately, posing a problem for the military as they appear to be able to generate a sufficient magnetic field and control it with such dexterity that they are able to deflect conventional military rifle ammunition.

    Tanks are currently being brought in to attempt to deal with the problem.

  6. Marcelo Rodrigues

    Re: land mine substitute considered...

    Sharks! With lasers! And a cristal tank - so they can shoot the snails!

    Epic battle! YAY!

  7. Charles 9 Silver badge

    Re: land mine substitute considered...

    Anyone considered just salting them? Or perhaps using a salt bullet? Last I checked, sodium chloride is nonferrous and can't be affected (at least readily) by magnetism.

  8. Muckminded


    Just tried powering my cell phone with one. Now I need a new phone and a new snail.

  9. frank ly Silver badge

    Re: Eww

    Are you sure that you were holding it properly?

  10. Martin Budden


    If they can get past the problem of doing this in animals which use hemoglobin, then humans can have our own fuel cells inserted. I like the idea of being my own phone charger, and there must be many other applications. We will become true cyborgs! As an added bonus, the more electricity we use, the more calories we'll burn, so we'll be wired and svelte.

  11. TeeCee Gold badge

    Re: Fantastic!

    You are Kevin Warwick and ICMFP!

  12. Graham Marsden

    Re: Fantastic!

    "the more electricity we use, the more calories we'll burn"

    Damn, I want to play Angry Birds, but my phone's out of charge, someone get me a burger now!

  13. Affian

    Blood sugar

    Does this mean we could make a power plant out of hyperglycemic diabetics?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Blood sugar

    Or, could this be a new treatment for diabetes?

  15. Dan 10

    Re: Blood sugar

    Unintended consequences?

    "My phone battery is low, I'll just attach it to my arm and eat a mars bar. Don't worry about the shakes, they'll subside."

  16. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    Well sugar is found in lots of plants as well.

    And should be extractable *without* conversion to Meth or Ethanol.

    May be the start of something big..

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Well sugar is found in lots of plants as well.

    "Well sugar is found in lots of plants as well."

    Sugar Cane for example.

  18. Richard Wharram

    Not there yet.

    Come back to me when Apple is powering a data-centre from 10 hectares of snails.

  19. Graham Bartlett

    Re: Not there yet.

    Well they come with rounded corners already, so we're halfway there.

  20. Bill Neal

    Re: Not there yet.

    Really? Apple makes data centers? You're kidding right?

  21. TRT Silver badge


    going well on Shell!

  22. This post has been deleted by its author

  23. Spotfist

    So in the future everyone carries a few snails in there pockets to charge mobiles etc... Does that mean we will also have to put up with those snail trails that look an awefully lot like gizz stains?

    I think I'll stick to charging at home... Boom, BOOM!

  24. Elmer Phud Silver badge

    for want of a snail . . .

    I'd suggest a single African snail for laptop power and maybe snail clusters for mobes.

    But, as with batteries, do these snails get hot with use ?

    Placed together in a pocket can they achieve critical mass?

    If they do then also include some herbs, butter and garlic - the little mobe prodder will double up as a fork.

  25. TRT Silver badge

    The ones with the copper coloured top.

    Don't know about you lot, but for years I've used copper strips to keep snails and slugs off my vegetable patch.

  26. jai

    soylent green....

    <Charlton Heston>Duracells are snails! damn you, you maniacs!!!!</Charlton Heston>

  27. TRT Silver badge

    Re: soylent green....

    Duracell are made from rabbits as ane fule no.

  28. Matthew 3

    Snails: Sensible choice

    If you're going to do something that could conceivably piss off another creature, always pick one that you can outrun.

  29. TRT Silver badge

    Re: Snails: Sensible choice

    My taste includes both snails and oysters.

  30. Joefish

    I'm waiting for the animal rights campaigners to break in and open all the cages.

    Then again, maybe they have, and no-one noticed.

  31. Bill Neal
    Thumb Up

    Re: I'm waiting for the animal rights campaigners to break in and open all the cages.

    I'm sure the police could walk and still get there in time.

  32. SirDigalot

    so when they apply this to humans

    The machines will take over and use us as a power source and only keeanu reeves can save us...

    were doomed...

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