The creation of Professor Chris Melhuish and his team at the University of the West of England, EcoBot II cleans up unrefined waste matter such as dead flies and rotting apples and extracts electricity from them using a Microbial Fuel Cell.

Running on totally green, clean energy, EcoBot can carry out its tasks every few minutes, albeit slowly, as he moves at 30cm per hour. Professor Melhuish told edie that, in theory, the robot could run on most waste matter, including raw sewage.

“In the future we will require robots to carry out work that is boring, difficult or repetitive in a location that is too hot, cold, hazardous or dirty for us to be in,” Professor Melhuish said. “This means they will need to be autonomous and extract energy from the surrounding environment. This work takes us a few small steps in that direction.”

He said that EcoBot could also potentially be used to sense things such as pollutants and toxins.

By Jane Kettle

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