This Swimming Robot Digests Pollution And Turns It Into Electricity

Row-bot via
Row-bot via

The Row-Bot powers itself by cleaning up bodies of water.

This is the Row-Bot, a robot that walks on water, and gets its energy by eating the microbes in dirty ponds and “digesting” them in its artificial stomach. Using this method, it generates more than enough power to propel itself on the hunt for more bacteria to feed its nature-inspired engine.

The bot, inspired by the water boatman bug, comes from a team at Bristol University in the U.K., and it consists of two main parts. One is a propulsion mechanism, which uses a paddle driven by a tiny electric motor. The other is the stomach, which uses a microbial fuel cell (MFC) to power the paddle. The robot gulps in water, turns it into electricity, and uses it to make a few paddle strokes, the movement lets it gulp down another mouthful of dirty water, and the process starts over.

An MFC is like a regular fuel cell, only it uses bacteria. When those bacteria metabolize organic matter, they produce carbon dioxide and water. However, if you keep the bacteria away from oxygen, they produce carbon dioxide, protons, and electrons, and these can be harnessed to flow between an anode and a cathode, just like the electrons flow between terminals in battery acid.

Read more: This Swimming Robot Digests Pollution And Turns It Into Electricity



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Transduction (machine learning) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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