Researchers at the Technological Institute of Energy, Valencia, Spain, are working to create a bio-battery that uses blood glucose to produce energy. Such a battery, they say, would cut down on the number of surgical interventions a pacemaker user must undergo.

Current batteries are work well for implant that do not require much energy. But, when they run out, the patient must undergo surgery to replace them. Even devices like pacemakers, which don’t use much electricity, have a limited useful life given this dependence on batteries.

The challenge of research in this area lies in developing electrodes made from materials that are compatible with the human body, and able to oxidize blood glucose and convert it into fuel. The researchers say that once the electrodes are fully developed, the next step will be to build a prototype bio-battery and test it to see whether it is able to obtain and store enough energy to power small implantable electronic devices, like pacemakers and cochlear implants.”