What’s the strongest creature in the world?
According to a study by Ozgur Sahin, it’s bacteria. When they dry out, some bacteria shrivel up into hard, wrinkly spores and wait around for moisture to return. When the water comes back, they expand with incredible force. They’re hundreds of times stronger than human muscle. If you could harness this energy, it would only take a pound of spores to lift a car a meter off the ground.
So Sahin and his colleagues set out to build a spore-based generator. They placed a layer of spores on a strip of rubber. In the video up top, a strip of this material is bending in response to moisture changes from a human breath. Sahin envisions a future when this material could be used to generate enormous amounts of energy from natural moisture fluctuations in the environment. He’s also identified mutations that could make the spores even stronger.