Robotics

Autonomously eat, digest, move, repeat

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Science  02 Dec 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6316, pp. 1115-1116
DOI: 10.1126/science.354.6316.1115-f

Truly autonomous robots require a robust and independent way to move and a means to harvest energy from the environment. Philamore et al. push toward these goals by devising a soft robotic mouth for use in aquatic environments that gathers organic biomass, which is processed in a microbial fuel cell to generate useful energy. Origami-like folding of a membrane pulls particulate-laden water into the mouth; the mouth is then closed for operation of the microbial fuel cell, which can be isolated from the water and connected in series. When combined with state-of-the-art electronics, the energy output from the fuel cell was boosted to usable values for powering motors and artificial muscles within the robot.

Soft Robotics 10.1089/soro.2016.0020 (2016).

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