Thursday, January 24, 2008

Ecobots at the Dana

Great evening at the Dana Centre Tuesday. A public debate/discussion called Techno Bodies - Hybrid Life? "What counts as a hybrid life form and how it affects you."

My contribution was to lead a discussion about the lab's Ecobots - starting with the Slugbot, then Ecobots I and II (famously fly eating robots powered by Microbial Fuel Cells), a little about what's next - Ecobot III - and to speculate about possible future applications for these hybrid-life robots. Hybrid life..? I'd never thought of these robots as hybrid life before but I guess the marrying of bio-chemical processes with plastic, metal and silicon does blur the boundaries.

Here's a picture of the Ecobot II, built by colleagues Ioannis Ieropoulos, Ian Horsfield, Chris Melhuish and John Greenman. Remarkably this robot runs for about 12 days on just 8 dead flies.

I was going to blog here about the various interesting questions that came up in discussion, but I don't need to because SciencePunk has done it already, so go here for a great summary.

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