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December 5, 2008

Fruit-Powered Clock


Includes digital clock powered by jumper wires and fruit (fruit not included).

Yes, we have no bananas.


December 5, 2008 at 03:01 PM | Permalink


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Man, I'm tired of things like this. "Fruit Powered Clock", "Water Powered Radio", "Potato Powered Web Server" (that one required rather a lot of potatoes, as I recall); every single one of these things is misnamed.

In all of these cases, the object or liquid in between the electrodes is not "powering" anything. It is acting as the ELECTROLYTE, like the goo inside a flashlight battery or the acid inside your car battery. The actual power comes from an electrochemical reaction between the electrodes. For little gadgets like this one, the electrodes are generally paddles of copper and zinc.

All the electrolyte does is transport ions from one electrode to the other (and collect contamination along the way, which is why you mustn't eat the orange that's been "powering" that clock for the last couple of days). The actual power comes from the electrochemical difference between the material from which the electrodes are made. One electrode will be slowly eaten away, and the other will slowly crust up with crud.

To say otherwise - as the packaging for these devices invariably does - is like saying that your television is "powered by wire".

Science toys are fantastic. Science toys that're dumbed down until they're lying to us are an own goal.

Posted by: Daniel Rutter | Dec 6, 2008 11:33:15 AM

My banana runs slow!

Posted by: Saul Castellanos | Dec 5, 2008 6:14:39 PM

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