Created by U.K.-based Bristol Robotics Laboratory and Wessex Water, EcoBot III is a brand new robot that runs on energy that it creates from the human waste that it cleans. The unique robots takes in human waste, converts it into electricity, uses the electricity to function and then poops out the waste matter leftover after use. What makes the autonomous robot truly remarkable of course is the fact that it shaves chunks off the running costs of traditional sewerage treatment plants.
Since most current sewage treatment technologies use a lot of energy to function, a robot like this which essentially produces its own energy via the waste it cleans up, can result in massive energy and operational costs savings for government agencies. If the technology used in these robots could be implemented for large scale use, they would make the process of sewage treatment more self-sufficient in terms energy requirements which could also reduce the carbon footprints of such operations.
Shaped like a three-tier cake, the current version of the EcoBot III weighs just 6 kg and is designed to clean up relatively small quantities of wastewater and human waste. Inside, the robot comes fitted an artificial stomach, catchment trays, microbial fuel cell layers and a hat for catching flies and bugs. The developers of the robot used low-power electronic circuitry to allow the robot to run on the electricity it creates by processing the water matter.
Even though the EcoBot III was primarily developed to serve in wastewater treatment projects, its developers intend to further refine its design to allow it to run using organic matter as well that would allow it to serve as a source of energy in areas where other means of energy generation are not feasible.