If You Watch One Video Of An Algae-Eating Autonomous Robot Today, Make It This One

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SYMBIOTIC MACHINE 2014, EXHIBITION AT THE GLAZEN HUIS, AMSTELPARK – AMSTERDAM from Ivan Henriques on Vimeo.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the nasty, stinky water, the Symbiotic Machine comes along and blows your mind. This little robot, built by designer Ivan Henriques, sucks in dirty water, breaks down the walls of algae cells, and then uses the resulting juice in the same way you use lemon juice to create a simple battery with a copper plate and photocell. Interestingly, the little robot has a nearly complete digestive system including – ahem – a butt.

Sealed with a transparent cylinder a motor, an endless worm and a pepper grinder aligned and connected by one single axis compose the mouth/anus, like a jellyfish. This cylinder has a liquid inlet/outlet (for water and algae spirogyra) placed at the end part of the endless worm. The endless worm has an important function to pump liquid in and out and to give small propulsion for the machine. Once the motor is activated the endless worm can turn to the right or to the left. If it turns to the right it sucks liquid in. If it turns to the left it pushes liquid out. The machine is programmed to pump algae and water in and out by the information transmitted by the sensors.

It’s a wild little proof-of-concept that is being shown at the Glazen Huis in Amsterdam and it looks like it’s working as designed, although I can only imagine what kind of mess will build up inside the robot over time. Luckily, it can expel waste out of its butt and even has a cleaning cycle to keep things spic and span inside. Wild, wild stuff.


via Adafruit