A fuel cell is a device that changes the chemical energy from a fuel source into electricity. This is done by harnessing the energy from a chemical reaction that results from mixing positively charged hydrogen ions with oxygen or an oxidizing agent. Unlike regular batteries, fuel cells keep providing electricity as long as the hydrogen ions and oxygen is supplied.
MudWatt is a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) kit that lets people build their own fuel cell that feeds on mud. Bacteria that feed on mud produce enough electricity to power an LED light and a digital clock. These types of bacteria already live in any kind of soil you can find. Experiments can be done by adding different foods and/or drinks to the mud to maximize the power produced by the bacteria. The mud can be made from different soil types. Temperatures can be adjusted. Any kind of variable that you can think of could be introduced to experiment with. As the population of bacteria increases the LED light blinks faster. When you are done experimenting, just clean MudWatt out. Every part of it is re-usable!
Growth of the bacteria can be tracked through the MudWatt app. You can also keep track of the power produced by the bacteria. The app even has a great educational comic book! The app can be used with smartphones or tablets running iOS, Android or Kindle.
MudWatt is a great educational kit for kids. It includes elements of microbiology, chemistry, energy, physics, engineering and sustainability. It’s a great thing to get children thinking about alternate energy sources! They are the future and the future needs cleaner, more sustainable ways of producing energy!
The MudWatt startup was founded by Keegan Cooke, Ellen Farriss and Kevin Rand. They have produced an educational product that brings the physical and digital worlds together. Kids will enjoy the digital aspects of MudWatt while learning about and being engaged in the world around them. The startup was funded through Kickstarter and has won several awards including the Parent’s Choice gold award.