Sunday, 6 November 2016

Scavenger robot EATS living organisms

It may not be a living, breathing robot, but UK researchers have created something pretty close. Robotics experts has developed a soft robot capable of consuming organic material for energy, effectively creating a machine which digests living things. The hope is that such self-sustaining robo-scavengers could be used to mop up contaminated water or algal blooms, which choke out life.Using a soft polymer membrane as a 'mouth', the machine filters its aquatic surroundings – a water bath with added biomatter – to gain the energy it needs. 

But unlike the stomach or digestive tract of living organisms, the mechanical imitator relies on a microbial fuel cell packed with bacteria which break down organic matter. 

These microbes break liberate the chemical energy stored in the biomatter, which is transformed into electrical energy which the robot can use. 

The clever design imitates the symbiotic relationships which have helped living things to dominate the planet over billions of years. 

Once the matter is used up, it is excreted out the other end and the robot moves on.

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