Robots Powered by Urine Could Refuel From Public Toilets

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Robots of the future could keep themselves powered up by pumping urine to generate their own electricity.

Scientists at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory used smart materials to make the “heart” for its EcoBot, which has 24 microbial fuel cells.

Dr Peter Walters, lead author of the study, said it could refuel from public lavatories in cities or from slurry pits in rural areas.

He said the artificial heartbeat was “mechanically simpler” than electric motor-driven pumps.

In the future, it is believed that EcoBots could be deployed as monitors in areas where there may be dangerous levels of pollution, or indeed dangerous predators, so that little human maintenance is needed.

It has already been shown that these types of robots can generate their energy from rotten fruit and vegetables, dead flies, waste water, sludge and human urine.

Doctor Walters said: “We speculate that in the future, urine-powered EcoBots could perform environmental monitoring tasks such as measuring temperature, humidity and air quality.”