The world’s first urine-powered wearable is here

worlds first urine powered wearable floyd bed socks2
We call it human waste, but thanks to a newly invented wearable, there’s nothing wasteful about your urine. And friends, we’ve truly entered the next phase in the digital revolution, as a team of scientists from the University of the West of England in Bristol have now developed the world’s first urine-powered wearables. They’re socks, and they’re capable of sending a message in an emergency situation — like when you find yourself wearing socks full of pee.

Perhaps taking the idea of nature’s calling a bit too seriously, the scientists utilized microbial fuel cell technology in their unusual creation. Microbial fuel cell technology refers to a process by which bacteria turns fluid waste into electricity. When you walk about in your urine-filled high-tech socks, you force around 648 milliliters of your pee through integrated tubes and into microbial fuel cells (MFCs), which in turn create electricity.

Don’t worry — the team doesn’t expect you to just pee into your socks. That would be disgusting. Rather, these next-generation foot warmers contain a number of squishy silicon tubes along the heel, which in turn are connected to the MFCs, located close to your ankle. When you walk, you literally force the urine towards these MFCs,  and in lab results, this created enough power to wirelessly send the message “World’s First Wearable MFC” once every two minutes. Gross, but kind of impressive, maybe.

“We wanted the system to be entirely self-sufficient, running only on human power — using urine as fuel and the action of the foot as the pump,” said team lead Professor Ioannis Ieropoulos. “This work opens up possibilities of using waste for powering portable and wearable electronics.”

Praising the ingenuity of the project, University Technology Corporation researcher Heather Luckcraft (who was not involved in the study) noted, “There is a boom in wearable electronics, and the ability to make biological fuel cells that are flexible and wearable takes the application to the next level.”

Who knew that level involved quite literally peeing on yourself.

Don’t get too excited yet, though. If you’re looking for a Christmas present, these won’t be ready in time. But at the very least, Professor Ieropoulos comments that these socks “open up possibilities” for the future of MFCs.  “Having already powered a mobile phone with MFCs using urine as fuel, we wanted to see if we could replicate this success in wearable technology,” he said.

Successful it has been. Adoptable, we’ve yet to determine.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: DIY smartphones and zip-on bike tires

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Are e-cigarettes safe? Here’s what the most recent science says

Ecigarettes are widely regarded and advertised as a healthier alternative to cigarettes for people who are trying to kick the smoking habit. How safe are these cigarette alternatives? We went deep into the recent scientific literature to…
Emerging Tech

Johns Hopkins’ lab-grown human retina could lead to big insights

Scientists from Johns Hopkins University have successfully grown human retina tissue from scratch in a lab. The work could help with the development of new therapeutics related to eye diseases.
Emerging Tech

Here are the best (and least likely to explode) hoverboards you can buy

With widespread reports of cheap, knock-off Chinese hoverboards exploding, these self-balancing scooters may be getting a rough reputation. They're not all bad, though. Ride in style with our picks for the best -- and safest -- hoverboards

These are the best smartwatches for everything from fashion to fitness

Tempted to buy a smartwatch? If so, then the growing number of great models available means you've got plenty to choose from. But which one should you pick? Here is our list of the best smartwatches.

Our favorite fitness trackers make it fun to keep moving

Looking for your first fitness tracker, or an upgrade to the one you're already wearing? There are plenty of the wrist-worn gadgets available. Here are our picks for the best fitness trackers available right now.
Product Review

The all-new Palm wants to be many things, but it’s really just a tiny smartphone

The all-new Palm is here, and it’s tinier than ever. Exclusive to Verizon, it syncs to your primary smartphone and acts as a secondary device -- with features to help you disconnect from technology. But at $350, is it worth the high price…
Emerging Tech

Here’s all the best gear and gadgetry you can snag for $100 or less

A $100 bill can get you further than you might think -- so long as you know where to look. Check out our picks for the best tech under $100, whether you're in the market for headphones or a virtual-reality headset.

Montblanc’s $995 Summit 2 watch stays on your wrist for longer between charges

Montblanc has taken the wraps off of the new Montblanc Summit 2 -- the first watch to feature the new Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor. The watch features a premium design and Google's Wear OS.
Product Review

The Huawei Watch GT’s battery life gets a tick, but the software may not tock

Huawei’s track record with smartwatches is strong, having releases two models and several spin-offs to general acclaim. This is the Watch GT, and it moves away from Google’s Wear OS to focus on fitness, yet stays ahead of the…

Inferiority is a feature now! Palm's new plan is psychotic

The Palm is a smartphone to reduce your smartphone usage, or a small smartphone for when you don't want to carry your big smartphone. Palm itself doesn't seem sure which it is, but either way, it's a product that's so witless, we're amazed…

With Spotify for WearOS, you no longer need your phone to stream music

A Spotify app will soon be available for download on Wear OS smartwatches. Whether you're working out or lounging at home, you'll soon be able to access and control your music straight from your wrist.

The best Apple Watch deals for October 2018

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.

The Verizon GizmoWatch puts a quick-communication device on your kid’s wrist

Verizon is taking another shot at building a smartwatch for youngsters. The company announced the Verizon GizmoWatch, which boasts 4G connectivity and helps parents keep track of their children.