Using human urine and the bacteria that love to drink it, scientists in the UK have made a pee-powered battery to power a cell phone. Sorry, college sophomores, the new device isn't a solution your "I dropped my phone in the toilet" problems.
Their new research, published this week in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, presents two devices for converting human waste into talk time, which they hope will help people in remote areas stay connected. However, the devices are not quite portable enough to come in handy during a marathon pub crawl. One consists of six, 4-inch-long ceramic cylinders; the other is a network of 25 smaller fuel cells borrowed from the team's waste-fueled EcoBot. And urine-powered conversations would have to be short and sweet. After 24 hours of charging, a Samsung phone stayed alive for 25 minutes—enough to send several texts and make a 6-minute, 20-second call. [ScienceNow]