Gastrobot, meaning literally 'robot with stomach', was a term coined in 1998 by the University of South Florida Institute's director, Dr. Stuart Wilkinson. A gastrobot is "An intelligent machine (robot) that derives all its energy requirements from the digestion of real food". The Gastrobot's energy intake may come in the form of carbohydrates, lipids etc., or may be a simpler source, such as alcohol.
The energy source commonly used for this robot is a mixture of carbohydrates and protein. These molecules are obtained from food through a microbial fuel cell (MFC) which then converts the food into gases and other potential energy. The gases and liquids are used to help fuel things such as a hydrogen fuel cell which help create more energy, along with other gases that help power the mechanics of the gastrobot.
The future of these robots supposedly is for certain types of so-called 'start and forget' missions on an ecological plateau which would be Earth at the current period in time. Their optic sensors may have artificial intelligence software that allows them to determine what is edible for consumption and energy conversion. Possible future commercial uses would be a self powered lawnmower that would obtain energy for itself from the cellulose in the grass cuttings.
- Digesting Duck, Vaucanson's 18th century forerunner
- Bender - a fictional robot from the year 3000 that 'lives' on common alcohol.
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- Gastrobots.com[dead link]
- Chewchew the Gastrobot[dead link]
- Article from New Scientist Magazine about Chew Chew
- Fly fed EcoBot
- A robot that eats slugs
- An Article on Gastrobots | .PDF (258 KB)[dead link]
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