The basic idea of the snippet is that they turned a snail into a generator of electricity. It’s only a few microwatts at 0.53 volts, but that isn’t insignificant. At first I thought “what the heck is the point of this nonsense?” but the implications as pointed out by the article are striking: powering medical implants, environmental sensors, spy equipment, etc. As a geophysicist, I am excited by the prospect of having thousands of roving, self-sufficient sensors. With improved technology, if we can power the sensor, a small wi-fi or bluetooth, and a small positioning unit (gps or other), we could collect amazing amounts of data.
Of course it would just be easier to make non-biological roving sensors, but where’s the fun in that?
By the way, the snail was unharmed. I wonder if this is the first step toward “The Matrix”?