How to power an FM radio using moss

If you love listening to music as much as you love this green Earth, then you’re going to be head over heels for this project.

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A British biochemist and a product designer worked together to build an FM radio powered by biological solar panels that incorporate moss.

In layman’s terms—it’s a radio powered by a plant.

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University of Cambridge biochemist Paolo Bombelli collaborated with London-based product designer Fabienne Felder to develop Moss FM. They say that in addition to their technology being the first plant-powered radio, it’s also the first functional moss-powered device that requires more electricity than an LCD screen.

“Moss FM is a biological solar panel,” said Bombelli in an interview with BBC Radio 4. “In the same way that the solar panels harnesses the energy of light and delivers electrical power, Moss FM it does it by using biological material.”

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While it might look like an elementary school science project, the device is actually a bit complicated. A frame holds 10 moss pots which are all connected to form, more or less, a “photo microbial fuel cell”. The biochemical process that takes place in this fuel cell harnesses the electrons and protons produced by the photosynthesizing plants, and turns them into electrical current.

I love this science gif

At the moment, the moss plants generate a potential of more than 4.5 volts The first time the radio powered up, it was able to play for a full 80 seconds. While moss was chosen because it’s cheap and easy on the eyes, the bio-radio duo said that other plants and algae can be used. They plan on exploring this, and also seeing if they can increase the amount of power generated.

See the radio in action below:

Using a Boombot to Listen to MLB Radio Broadcasts

MLB at Bat Radio

HOW TO LISTEN TO MLB GAMES LIVE ON RADIO

This past weekend I found myself sitting on the couch watching the SF Giants go against the Chicago Cubs.  The game was getting intense as we headed into the top of the 7th inning.  At the same time, it was one of those days that was too nice to be sitting inside watching the telly.  I wanted to find out how I could listen to the game using my wireless speaker and smartphone.  My iPhone doesn’t pull up AM radio (which sounds awful anyhow), so I scrambled around trying to figure out how I could listen to the baseball game with modern tech of internet radio.

All MLB games are content restricted by the MLB Network.  The ONLY app you can use to listen to these games live over internet radio is MLB at Bat.  TuneIn and all other apps do not have the license to broadcast Major League Baseball so don’t bother trying.  Download the App and prepare to spend the whopping $2.99/month subscription.

Once I had the App downloaded, I was able to set up my preferences around the teams I wanted to follow.  The App worked great on my Bluetooth speaker.  Within minutes, I was biking across the Golden Gate Bridge and listening to a crisp high fidelity broadcast of the game right from my handlebars.  Bikers along the route stopped me frequently asking for the score.  Throughout my ride, I was able to tune in and keep up with the game while also being able to enjoy the outdoors.  The audio quality was way higher than AM radio.  It skipped out an buffered twice during the entire ride.  Without a Boombot speaker, it’d be impossible to hear the game while riding.   I’m a fan.

Just so you know, the KNBR App does NOT have the live broadcast so spare yourself.  Get the MLB app and you’ll be a happy baseball fan.