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News Link • Science, Medicine and Technology

Scientists Have Engineered Living, Breathing Wallpaper

•, By Katharine Schwab

Wallpaper is about to become a lot more useful.

Scientists from Imperial College London, Cambridge, and Central Saint Martins have figured out how to use an inkjet printer to print photosynthesizing bacteria onto paper, effectively creating a new way to turn microbes into a living power bank.

The bacteria, called cyanobacteria, turns energy it gathers from the sun into electricity–almost like natural, living solar panels. The scientists were able to harness this power by first printing conductive ink onto paper, and then printing the cyanobacteria in specific patterns on top in such a way that enables energy transfer between the bacteria and the conductive ink. The finished panel was then exposed to light. Over a period of 100 hours, the scientists harvested small amounts of electricity from the bacteria as they photosynthesized.

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