Researchers say these biologically driven power plants could someday be the microscopic engines for tiny, human-made devices that are self-assembled and self-powered — everything from optical switches to smartphone microphones.

Co-author Dr Tyler Shendruk, from Oxford University’s Department of Physics, said: ‘Many of society’s energy challenges are on the gigawatt scale, but some are downright microscopic. One potential way to generate tiny amounts of power for micromachines might be to harvest it directly from biological systems such as bacteria suspensions.’

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