Scientists are looking into the bacteria from the genus Geobacter, exploring their natural electrical conductivity. This research could lead to living technology with a variety of applications within the human body, generating clean power, and much more. The first step is to fully understand how a bacterium of this type conducts electricity.
This type of bacteria has a kidney bean shape with long tails. The ability of those nanowires to conduct electricity was observed by a microbiologist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Darek Lovely. His initial research was intended to find out how the Geobacter gets rid of surplus electrons. Nearby rust molecules use these charged particles to turn into magnetite. Lovely believes that the protein nanowires called pili are the main conduit for electrical conduction.
Possible Applications for Conductive Bacteria
Lovely has put forth the idea of harvesting nanowires to be used in the creation of environmentally-friendly electronics. In his nano research, he has published papers describing how these nanowires were able to detect ammonia, pick up changes in humidity, and take electrons from water molecules in the air. This could lead to sustainable electricity production from humidity. Theoretically, protein nanowires could be used to power small-scale electronics.
The Advantages of Bacterial Nanowires
U.S. Naval Research Laboratory biologist, Sarah Glaven, claims that the nanowires would have a hard time competing with synthetic materials for efficiency if they are removed from the bacteria. Although Glaven agrees that nanowires would fare well in environments that corrode traditional electronics, such as the human body or the ocean, she believes that working with living microbes rather than just their nanowires would be more efficient.
Researchers and different laboratories are still debating whether the pili or cytochromes make the most significant nanowires for electrical conductivity. The studies will continue with the hopes of developing efficient living electronics with extensive application possibilities!
3D printers, even though they have been around for a long time, are still not the most common pieces of technology. Once looked upon as expensive, bulky machines only reserved for factories and industries, they’ve now become affordable and viable tools for engineers, hobbyists, schools, etc.
Questions to Ask
There are a variety of options in today’s market if one is looking for a 3D printer. Some questions to ask yourself before you look for a printer that fits your needs are –
What do you want to print? What size are the objects that need to be printed? What are your objects made of? How high a resolution would you need? Do you want to print in multiple colors? What surface will you print on? What software would you need for your printer?
Once these questions have been answered, there is a clear picture of what kind of 3D printer will fulfill your needs. Take a peak at these top printers from 2022 and decide for yourself.
Original Prusa i3 MK3S Plus
This printer is an incremental upgrade from its award winning predecessor. With consistently high quality prints, no misprints while testing, easy-to-use among its various other pros, this is one of the top candidates of printers to choose from, especially for hobbyists and classrooms.
Dremel Digilab 3D45 3D Printer
The best printer for product designers, engineers, and classrooms, this 3D printer is feature-packed and comes loaded with user-friendly yet powerful software. It also prints via USB, ethernet, wifi and is a relatively quiet design as opposed to its competitors.
Original Prusa Mini
Two from the same company on the list! The original Prusa Mini is the budget printer, perfect for newbies. It contains user-friendly software, has great support resources, and is a machine of the best quality. This printer is sold as a kit, but is fairly easy to assemble. One of the best low-cost printers around.