Tropical Fruit-Powered Laser

Energy & Sustainability Technology
Tropical Fruit-Powered Laser

Over at the Maui Makers hackerspace, member Ryan K showed up with a mess of Lilikoi fruit (also known as passion fruit). Using anodized bolts (source of zinc), some thin copper pipe, wire, switches, LEDs, and a capacitor, he built himself a battery from the fruit.

The Lilikoi vine produces a massive amount of fruit in Hawaii, often creating a nuisance for home-owners who own a plant. The fruit drop and have to be cleaned up, otherwise they rot and attract insects. Ryan tasted one and noticed it was quite acidic and might be a good candidate for a homemade battery.

The fruit charge a 6800 uf capacitor, and when the volt meter hits 3v, the switch can be thrown, letting the green laser emit a short pulse. For those curious, two days later the charge was down to 1.8v. Obviously this is a supply and demand issue they’ll need to sort out.

16 thoughts on “Tropical Fruit-Powered Laser

  1. SideBlog: Tiki Arms Race? Passionfruit-Powered LASERS | The Pegu Blog says:

    […] Hits Tiki Arms Race? Passionfruit-Powered LASERS. It's a good thing Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic didn't have this technology or California […]

  2. tjhowse says:

    Cool project, but two factual inaccuracies: A) Passionfruit don’t grow on trees, they grow on a vine, B) You don’t bite into a passionfruit, you cut it in half and scoop out the insides from the inedible husk.

    1. Michael Colombo says:

      Duly noted. I’ve changed the post to reflect that. Thanks!

      1. mauimaker says:

        Lilikoi/Passion Fruit are a vine… but if you dont have a knife, you can bite open the fruit. Which is what he did…

  3. Dead_Alichino says:

    Is there any instructions on making a device such as this?

    1. Michael Colombo says:

      I’d start here to get the basic concept: – and then start googling terms such as “veggie battery” to see examples that others have made. Explore, and find a process that works for you.

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In addition to being an online editor for MAKE Magazine, Michael Colombo works in fabrication, electronics, sound design, music production and performance (Yes. All that.) In the past he has also been a childrens' educator and entertainer, and holds a Masters degree from NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program.

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