The Hyp-Phe-Phe molecule can operate devices such as pacemakers or streetlights, sans batteries, simply by harnessing the force of nearby movements.

A biological material developed by nanotech scientists can generate electric currents and voltage cleanly, using surrounding movements to charge up.

Prof. Ehud Gazit (photo credit:

Two years ago, an international research group led by scientists from Tel Aviv University published a paper about this material – a molecule called Hyp-Phe-Phe. It resembles collagen, a protein whose strength and flexibility make it useful in many applications, but is much shorter and simpler.

Now, in a study published in Nature Communications, the researchers show that the new material shares another feature with collagen – piezoelectricity. “Piezoelectricity is the ability of a material to generate electric currents and voltage as a result of the application of mechanical force, or vice versa, to create a mechanical force as the result of exposure to an electric field,” explained TAU’s Prof. Ehud Gazit.

“Most of the piezoelectric materials that we know of today are toxic lead-based materials, or polymers, meaning they are not environmentally and human body-friendly. Our new material, however, is completely biological, and therefore suitable for uses within the body.”

For example, a device made from Hyp-Phe-Phe could replace a battery in implants like pacemakers. Heartbeats, jaw movements, bowel movements, or any other …

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