For centuries, slow moving Gastropods have been soaked in garlic and fed to French people who do not really care what they are eating, but now it seems the poor snail could be powering our laptops.
According to Chemistry World, a group at Ben-Gurion University in Israel has managed to plug in a snail as a power source by opening the poor thing up and shoving in a biofuel cell.
The cell is made from carbon nanotube ‘paper’ modified with enzymes that process sugar. As the snail eats, some of the glucose in its food ends up in the fuel cell and generates electricity.
The snail could not get much electricity yet, even when it really pigged out. The maximum power from the snail cell was 7.45µW, so it would take quite a lot of snails to power even a small device.
The researchers said that the cunning plan was not to create a new source of renewable power by enslaving armies of snails, but finding ways to power tiny implanted medical devices that deliver drugs or monitor diseases.
Something which might be a little alarming is, as Chemistry World points out, that this is exactly the same sort of technology suggested in The Matrix. The only difference is that it was humans and not snails which were providing the energy. It has been a while since we saw the film, but we don’t remember anyone being soaked in garlic either.