Human waste may be the future of self-sustaining roboticsFebruary 26, 2012
The future of self-sustaining machines may lie in the realm of human waste.
In the past decade, alternative energy systems have become significantly advanced. Today, these energy systems are getting a great deal of attention for their ability to make machines entirely self-reliant. In the robotics industry, microbial fuel cells have proven that self-sustainability is possible. Now, so called EcoBots are beginning to emerge into the world with a great deal of support from NASA and the Bristol Robotics Laboratory in the United Kingdom.
John Greenman, a microbiologist with the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, believes that these self-sustaining robots are the future of machinery and industry. These EcoBots are equipped with microbial fuel cells, which produce electricity by consuming waste products such as urine. These fuel cells are filled with bacteria that feed off waste, but they can also feed on refined sugars, such as E. coli.
The first EcoBot was built in 2002 and operated largely without needing to be refueled by a human.