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A View from David Appell

Fly-Powered Robot

If this is what autonomous robotics has come to, count me out. The robot known as Ecobot II will generate its own energy by catching and digesting flies in a special reactor cell that generates electricity. The robot’s energy source…

  • September 10, 2004

If this is what autonomous robotics has come to, count me out. The robot known as Ecobot II will generate its own energy by catching and digesting flies in a special reactor cell that generates electricity. The robot’s energy source is the sugar in the polysaccharide called chitin that makes up a fly’s exoskeleton. Ecobot II traveled for five days on just eight fat flies. Its developers at the University of the West of England in Bristol want to ultimately make the machine predatory–using human excrement as bait to catch the insects. Somehow you have to think there’s got to be a better way.

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