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Development of a bio-digital interface powered by microbial fuel cells

You, Jiseon; Mendis, Arjuna; Greenman, John; Freeman, Julie; Wolff, Stephen; Armstrong, Rachel; Hughes, Rolf; Ieropoulos, Ioannis

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Jiseon You
Lecturer in Engineering/ Project Management

Arjuna Mendis

John Greenman

Julie Freeman

Stephen Wolff

Rachel Armstrong

Rolf Hughes

Ioannis Ieropoulos


This paper reports the first relatable bio-digital interface powered by microbial fuel cells (MFCs) that was developed to inform the public and introduce the concept of using live microbes as waste processors within our homes and cities. An innovative design for the MFC and peripherals system was built as a digital data generator and bioreactor, with a custom-built energy-harvesting controller that was connected to the system to enable efficient system operation using adaptive dynamic cell reconfiguration and transmit data for the bio-digital interface. This system has accomplished multiple (parallel) tasks such as electricity generation, wastewater treatment and autonomous operation. Moreover, the controller demonstrated that microbial behaviour and consequent system operation can benefit from smart algorithms. In addition to these technical achievements, the bio-digital interface is a site for the production of digital art that aims to gain acceptance from a wider-interest community and potential audiences by showcasing the capabilities of living microorganisms in the context of green technologies.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 8, 2022
Online Publication Date Feb 2, 2022
Publication Date Feb 2, 2022
Deposit Date Feb 7, 2022
Publicly Available Date Feb 8, 2022
Journal Sustainability (Switzerland)
Electronic ISSN 2071-1050
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 14
Issue 3
Article Number 1735
Public URL


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