first_imgDid you know that there is a tiny area in your ear that has the same kind of electrical power capabilities as a battery? It is part of the biological process that allows you to hear, and now scientists are realizing for the first time that it might be possible to use it as a wireless power source for external devices.That being said, before you start dreaming about smartphones that charge when you put them up to your ear, or wireless headphones that don’t need batteries, scientists have only provided a very minute proof of concept.Researchers from MIT‘s Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences performed tests on guinea pigs to try to manipulate a similar “biological battery” in their ears. The test was to see if they could implant a chip into the ear (see image above), which could wirelessly transmit data to an external receiver. It worked.Scientists have known about this biological phenomenon since the 1950s, but the assumption was always that any kind of interference with it would cause the person to become deaf. The guinea pigs in the study, however, still had full hearing capabilities.Taking the next step into something with revolutionary implications is easier said than done. Obviously, the charge that is provided by your ear is not massively powerful so ear-charging cell phones aren’t exactly around the corner. Nevertheless, it is a fascinating development. This is just the beginning of what is sure to be a long road of new and exciting biological research.via MITlast_img

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