Sat, Jul 18, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Local research team invents chlorophyll cell

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Taiwanese researchers have invented a chlorophyll organic cell that triggers music in diapers when they are wet and lights up life jackets when the user falls into the water.

Liao Chung-pin (廖重賓), a professor at the Graduate Institute of Electro-optic Material Science of National Formosa University in Yunlin County, and his team recently presented the smart products using the chlorophyll cell they invented.

Liao said diapers that alert caregivers when they need to be changed and life vests that help locate victims in case of a plane or shipping accident were just the first two applications for the patented chlorophyll cell, which his team created last year.

The team developed a flat integrated circuit (IC) model that can be attached to a chlorophyll cell and inserted into a diaper. When the diaper is wet, it activates the cell, generating power that sets off the IC, Liao said.

Based on the team's estimates, once the cell is mass produced, the environmentally friendly and efficient device will only cost NT$1 to manufacture, Liao said.

Following the same principle, the wet-to-use cell can also be combined with a light-emitting diode (LED) that can make a life vest glow when wet, Liao said.

The cell will keep the LED lit for 72 hours, increasing the chances that victims who fell into the water will be spotted and rescued.

Liao said the LED model can be upgraded with a global positioning system.

Liao added that the chlorophyll organic battery can supply electricity when it gets wet, be it from water, urine or beverages.

When wet, the cell can supply a current of 800mA from a package the size of an AA battery, Liao said.

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