Human waste might someday turn human urine or waste into useful electricity for radios or space robots. EcoBot-III was able to both eat and crap inside its lab environment.
Today’s robots that fly, jump or roll around must refuel or recharge as does any gadget that runs out of energy. Tomorrow’s new generation of self-sustaining robots might keep going nearly forever by grazing on dead insects, rotting plant matter or even human waste.
The vision of robots capable of plugging themselves into the natural world of living organisms has begun taking shape in several labs around the world, and even NASA has shown renewed interest in powering space robots with microbes. But one British lab has already been building on the work of robotics pioneers to create small “EcoBots” that extract energy from microbial fuel cells since 2002.
“Robots that eat biological fuels could find enough fuel almost anywhere,” said John Greenman, a microbiologist at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, a joint venture between the University of the West of England and the University of Bristol. “There is organic matter anywhere on Earth — leaves and soil in the forest, or even human waste such as urine and feces.”
Written by Jeremy Hsu, Scientific American. Continue HERE
Image: Bristol Robotics Laboratory, UK