A Robot that Decomposes

A robot that decomposes

Project title: A robot that decomposes: towards biodegradable robotic organisms

The materials used to construct conventional robots are often toxic and hazardous, thus an autonomous robot released into the environment would need to be recovered at the end of its working life.

The current project looks at negating this problem by building a biodegradable robot fuelled by microbial fuel cells. Such a robot could perform roles such as hazardous waste cleanup or environmental sensor before degrading harmlessly once the mission has been completed. This is a collaborative research project fusing together the expertise of the themes Bioenergy and Self-sustaining Systems and Soft Robotics.

Project Aims

  • To build a robot composed entirely of biodegradable materials, with operational artificial muscles and fuelled by microbial fuel cells.
  • To test the robot for biodegradability and functionality in the natural environment.

Project Objectives and Expected Outcome

We will research the use of microbial fuel cells as a means of powering an artificial muscle, the artificial muscle material as a fuel source for the microbial cell and finally the overall biodegradability of the materials and the robot as a whole in laboratory and field trials. We expect to demonstrate the first complete biodegradable artificial organism.

Theme Leader

Contact Address

Bristol BioEnergy Centre
Bristol Robotics Laboratory
University of the West of England
Coldharbour Lane
Bristol, BS16 1QY

Page last updated 14 August 2014

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