What do you think of that wallpaper pattern? It's got a fun '70s vibe going on, kicky color combo, oh, and it's made of bacteria. A team of scientists from Imperial College London, the University of Cambridge, and Central Saint Martins have developed a way to print bacteria (the good kind) on to paper, and here's how it could benefit your home.
The team was able to print cyanobacteria— "photosynthetic micro-organisms that have been on Earth for billions of years"—onto paper and generate enough energy to power a small LED lightbulb.
For the more technical description, according to a statement from Imperial College London, "a team has demonstrated that cyanobacteria could be used as an ink and printed from an inkjet printer in precise patterns onto electrically conductive carbon nanotubes, which were also inkjet-printed onto the piece of paper. The team showed that the cyanobacteria survived the printing process and were able to perform photosynthesis so that small amounts of electrical energy could be harvested over a period of 100 hours."
The current sample of the paper is palm sized, so the team will have to see if the technology works when they scale up. It it does, this could eventually lead to a cost effective, bio-degradable wallpaper that monitors air quality and serves as a clean energy source.
So the day where your statement wall powers your Alexa may not be all that far away.
h/t Fast Co. Design