Flies are abominable creatures that spread bacteria, dirt, virus, and other elemental things, causing more harm than good. With today’s innovations, man has actually come up with some use for these little pests - they can now be used to generate power for robots. The University of the West of England-Bristol came up with a fly-eating robot called Ecobot II. The Ecobot II, which was developed in 2004, takes care of itself by finding its own energy source, and it also takes care of the environment by getting its energy from flies, instead of using more conventional forms of fuel.
There have been a lot of studies on robot technology, especially in the area of making contributions to the environment. The ultimate goal of this project was to be able to successfully create self-sufficient robots with a built-in digestive system using the Microbial Cell Technology.
It began with the creation of Ecobot I , which was a sugar-eating machine, functioning on E. coli. With its completion, the creators proceeded to the next level, which was to make the smelly, fly-eating Ecobot II. The difference between the two is that Ecobot I uses a pure fuel resource, such as sugar, while Ecobot II uses processed or secondary fuel resources such as rotten fruits and flies. The Ecobot II is also the first of its kind to utilize oxygen diffusion cathodes.
The Ecobot II, as strange as it seems, can prove to be very useful in the future. After consuming its “food,” the robot is able to do what it is designed to do, such as walking around and measuring temperature. It then transfers the data it gathered to its base, located nearby. Moving at 10 centimeters per hour may be slower than a snail, but it takes on a different level as the Ecobot II can be placed in areas that are hazardous to human beings.
It is not so difficult to make sure that it works and continues to work, as it is powered by flies and rotten fruits. Energy is not acquired from batteries or other sources, but from insects and fruits that have very little use to people. However, the Ecobot II also has a downside to it. As it feeds on flies and rotten fruits, which “smell” good to it, it unfortunately makes the Ecobot II quite unpleasant to the human nose.
The Ecobots were constructed by Chris Melhuish, who founded the Intelligent Autonomous Systems Engineering Laboratory with the vision to improve energy utilization and develop autonomous robots. It is important to note that the Ecobots are not the only robots in the world using fuel energy resources. Invented in 2000, the Chew-chew was the earliest sugar-powered robot. Although the Ecobots are not the pioneering robots in the field of Gastrobotics, they are the first in terms of being able to find an energy supply on their own.