Facebook PixelAlgae-powered batteries could be used to power underwater sensors that transmit info via blinking diodes
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Algae-powered batteries could be used to power underwater sensors that transmit info via blinking diodes

Image credit: Paolo Bombelli et al.

Darko Savic
Darko Savic May 25, 2022
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"Place and forget" underwater sensors that run on algae-powered batteries. The data is transmitted via blinking diodes to a faraway receiver that is using a telephoto lens.
Ability to "place and forget" sensors in locations that would otherwise require specialized equipment/staff to maintain.
How it works
Algae powered battery
This battery powered by algae ran a low-energy computer chip for 6 months. A bio-photovoltaic energy harvester system using photosynthetic microorganisms on an aluminium anode that can power a microprocessor widely used in Internet of Things applications. This video explains how it works:

This is basically a solar panel + battery in one. It works at night too. It doesn't work when the temperature falls below 5 degrees celsius. So its useful during warm months, or in warmer climates, or underwater.
Underwater sensors
The battery is suitable to power devices that consume low power or short bursts of higher power (via condensers). It could power all kinds of sensors that are needed for long scientific experiments, observation, etc.
Low power communication via diodes
The sensors could be equipped with a few diodes that relay information by blinking in patterns. The blinking would be picked up by a receiver with a telephoto camera. It would have to be within the line of sight. The blinking patterns are then translated back to digital data.
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General comments

jnikola2 years ago
Did you see somewhere the application of the blinking diodes? I was first thinking how cool is that, but then again, isn't it simpler to send data via Bluetooth or as radiowaves through an antenna? Diodes would take a lot of time to send even a simple message, plus they need a device that translates the digital signal into blinking and back. All things considered, there could be simpler ways.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic2 years ago
J. Nikola I was thinking about the lowest power consumption to transmit data. Blinking diodes should have plenty of bandwidth to transmit sensor data. Also, the sensor can be very far, as long as it's in the line of sight. The line sight could also be bent/routed with mirrors.
The lights would basically come on once every time the sensor state changes. Radio communication would burn more power I think.
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