Jun
30
2009

Once again robots do something I’ve been doing for years and everybody gets excited.

Robots are stealing our jobs: Even when our job is to eat bugs.
Robots are stealing our jobs: Even when our job is to eat bugs.Courtesy manbartlett
Yeah, hooray, robots can walk. I’ve been walking for, like, most of my life. A robot can make sad faces. Whatever. That’s practically my specialty. A robot can simulate excruciating pain and horror. So? Nuts to “simulate”—I live it.

Great. It’s all great. Robots are programmed and built to do all sorts of inane stuff, and people love it. But I’ve been able to do this stuff forever, and nobody’s giving me high-fives and kisses. Cool, a robot can remember your name. I can usually so that. A robot can remember your credit card number. I can for sure do that. Give me a chance people, and you’ll see how much better than a robot I am.

But no. Robot development rumbles onward, and, once again, robots are taking a brave new step where I’ve stepped years ago: they fuel themselves by eating bugs.

Some artsy science people in London have designed self-sustaining robotic furniture. The robots digest organic matter (bugs) in “microbial fuel cells,” creating enough power to run a clock (I can do that) or light up lamp (I could probably do that), and eat more bugs (done). Microbial fuel cells, by the way, are sort of like batteries that run on decomposing matter. Chemicals in the fuel cell (I think) pretty much steal the electrons being produced by bacteria as they break down organic fuel. I can’t do this, but, then again, no one is asking me to. MFCs seem like pretty interesting technology, actually. More about them here, if you’re interested.

The designers have made working models of a fly-attracting lamp that works like a pitcher plant to capture its victims, a wall-mounted clock with a sticky conveyor belt, and a table that attracts mice onto its surface and into a trap door, where (I guess) they are digested to death. (I can’t help it… it’s like the Pit of Carkoon! Argh. I’m always going to be this way.)

It’s all pretty neat, although the small mammal attracting and digesting table might be a little much. That one seems like a case of somebody getting a little too arty or a little too sciencey for their own good. I mean, I could lure and eat a mouse, and hold your food for you, but would you want me to?

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

shaunalynn10's picture

wow you eat bugs?

posted on Tue, 06/30/2009 - 5:23pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

What? Where'd you get that from?

posted on Tue, 06/30/2009 - 6:46pm
dellax28's picture
dellax28 says:

Do robots still need batteries even though they eat bugs to fuel themselves?

posted on Tue, 06/30/2009 - 5:33pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

wow. how about a couch that eats those gigantic nastylong legged centipied thingys! that would be great!

posted on Tue, 06/30/2009 - 5:48pm
hailey's picture
hailey says:

eating bugs is nasty nobody should ever eat bugs and robot are cool so we shouldnt be jelios of them.:)

posted on Wed, 04/07/2010 - 4:12pm

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