Researchers are looking for a new way to power stationary bots by utilizing something we all produce every day — pee. The idea is to power these bots with urine that is pumped through the bot via the use of an artificial heart.
Getting energy out of urine is not a simple task. First the urine will have to pass into a fuel cell where there are microbes. These microbes eat the energy-rich compounds and harvest the electricity. This electricity will be used to power the bot.
The artificial heart is controlled by shape-shifting titanium alloy that expands when electricity passes through it and retracts as it cools. This simulates the beating action of a regular human heart. The heart pumps every 3.5 seconds for about 30 seconds before resting. It then rests for around 3 hours before starting again.
Is there a lot of energy to be had from urine? Not really, which is why it makes sense to only use this technology in stationary bots that requires low power in order to function. So far Peter Walters, a researcher at University of Bristol in the U.K., has proven you can get enough energy out of urine to power a cell phone. The bot that will use this new cardiovascular system hasn’t been designed yet but the potential is there.
[via NBC News]