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Electric eels channel the output of thousands of specialized cells called electrocytes to generate electric potentials of up to 600 volts, according to biologists. The mechanism is similar to nerve cells. The arrival of a chemical signal triggers the opening of highly selective channels in a cell membrane causing sodium ions to flow in and potassium ions to flow out. The ion swap increases the voltage across the membrane, which causes even more channels to open. Past a certain point the process becomes self-perpetuating, resulting in an electric pulse traveling through the cell. The channels then close and alternate paths open to “pump” the ions back to their initial concentrations during a “resting” state.In all, according LaVan, there are at least seven different types of channels, each with several possible variables to tweak, such as their density in the membrane. Nerve cells, which move information rather than energy, can fire rapidly but with relatively little power. Electrocytes have a slower cycle, but deliver more power for longer periods. LaVan and partner Jian Xu developed a complex numerical model to represent the conversion of ion concentrations to electrical impulses and tested it against previously published data on electrocytes and nerve cells to verify its accuracy. Then they considered how to optimize the system to maximize power output by changing the overall mix of channel types.Their calculations show that substantial improvements are possible. One design for an artificial cell generates more than 40 percent more energy in a single pulse than a natural electrocyte. Another would produce peak power outputs over 28 percent higher. In principle, say the authors, stacked layers of artificial cells in a cube slightly over 4 mm on a side are capable of producing continuous power output of about 300 microwatts to drive small implant devices.
Besides. if an electric eel can produce enough voltage to knock out fish, imagine what a human could do.
Haven't there been some body mods where people have set up plates just under their skin that do something similar to what you're suggesting?
For all its sophistication and power, your brain is built from unreliable components – one neuron can successfully provoke a signal in another only 40% of the time.This lack of efficiency frustrates neuroengineers trying to build networks of brain cells to interface with electronics or repair damaged nervous systems.Our brains combine neurons into heavily connected groups to unite their 40% reliability into a much more reliable whole.Now human engineers working with neurons in the lab have achieved the same trick: building reliable digital logic gates that perform like those inside electronics.