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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Here's a new use for your blood and sweat and tears. Scientists say those liquids could power a battery. And this battery looks just like a piece of black paper.

Dr. ROBERT LINHARDT (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute): It's flexible. It can be shaped or folded. You can poke a hole in it and it still works.

INSKEEP: That's chemist Robert Linhardt. He's a member of the research team that developed the new battery, which is made from paper and carbon nanotubes. He works at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York.

He says regular AA batteries, like the ones in your camera, use battery acid to produce a current. But the new paper battery can run on blood or sweat, which means it might ultimately be used to power medical devices like hearing aids or pacemakers.

Dr. LINHARDT: It could be easily implanted directly under the skin. Normally batteries that power devices in our body, like pacemakers, have to be buried deeper because they're metal batteries. And if they were put directly under the skin, it would be obvious and they wouldn't be so flexible.

INSKEEP: Now, Linhardt predicts it will take years to perfect the paper battery. But he says there may be a clever way to manufacture it.

Dr. LINHARDT: We'd like to be able to - ultimately to print these batteries like a newspaper is printed, from roll to roll, on a printing press.

INSKEEP: One day, Linhardt says, the battery would allow your sweat to work for you.

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