Scientists have developed a robot that will get all the energy it will need by consuming microbes. Scary as it may sound, this can usher the rise of zombie robots.
Researchers from the University of Bristol, Bristol Robotics Laboratory, and the Bristol BioEnergy Center developed the self-sustaining robot to imitate salps. These are barrel-shaped marine invertebrates that suck in organic matter at one end, digest it in the middle, and blow waste out the other end. This allows them to feed themselves and propel their bodies at the same time.
This is an efficient design, and robots are doing it too.
According to Soft Robotics, Hemma Philamore and her team have creatd the robotic salp by creating a soft polymer mouth that pulls in water and organic matter. The stomach will have a chain of microbial fuel cells filled with microbes that break down biomass and convert it to enough power to expel digested waste. It will also have enough power to suck a mouthful of water and microbes. This mimics a self-sustaining robot that can operate indefinitely. That is, unless it runs out of organic matter.
Fumiya Iida of the University of Cambridge said the technology holds a lot of potential. The robots are seen operating in environments too hostile for humans such as nuclear disaster areas or in heavily polluted waters. Philamore also sees them feeding in agricultural irrigation systems or applying chemicals to crops.
So far, the research is taking place in a lab environment using easy-to-digest nutrients placed near the mouths of the robots. Mysterious Universe clarified that it wouldn't take long until the cons of this wonderful invention are received.
Regardless, this is a huge leap in the field of robotics. Man can finally see aid coming in the form of small robots that do not even need batteries to recharge and operate and simply need simple microbes for nourishment. The time may also come when humans become an adequate source of nutrients, but until that happens, the robots are still on the good side.
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