Scavenger Robot Cleans Water
British robotics experts created a scavenger robot that eats living organisms and could be used to clean up contaminated water.
15:47 07 November 2016
British robotics experts have successfully developed a soft robot that digests living things and which can be used to clean contaminated water or algal blooms. The robot is self-sustaining and designed to obtain the energy it needs from its watery surroundings.
Developed by a team of engineers based in Bristol, the robot’s design imitates basic marine creatures called salps, which are simple and transparent tube-like creatures that filter the water for living scraps.
Professor Ioannis Ieropoulos, who is leading the project at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, 'By deploying these robots in remote environments and building-in telemetry, we can also be collecting valuable information from that environment, such as temperature, pH, relative humidity, pollutants concentration, depending on the sensor technology that may be incorporated.
He added: 'Longer term, these would be the agents that could hopefully be deployed in search & rescue missions, where energy management - such as battery recharging or replacement - is extremely challenging.'
Earlier this year, another similar robot was created by researchers in the US. The 3D-printed octopus, called the octobot, was designed to get through cracks and tight places, making it ideal as a rescue robot.