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Energy and metabolism

Ieropoulos, Ioannis A.; Melhuish, Chris


Yannis Ieropoulos
Professor in Bioenergy & Director of B-B

Chris Melhuish
Professor of Robotics & Autonomous Systems


Tony J. Prescott

Nathan Lepora

Paul F.M.J. Verschure


© Oxford University Press, 2018 and University of Tartu Press, 2012. Energy resulting from metabolism is essential for any living system-from single-cell to multicellular organisms. This also applies to symbiotic robots (SymBots), which function utilizing the energy (electricity) generated by living microorganisms. In the context of living technologies, artificial symbiosis between the living and the artificial entities of the machine becomes vital for the whole system. If the living entity stops generating energy, the mechatronic system ceases to work yet it is the mechatronic system that provides the microbes with food, and gets rid of their waste. This chapter presents and discusses SymBots, based on EcoBots that operate using Microbial Fuel Cells as onboard living energy devices. The interface between science and engineering is exemplified through the study and optimization of MFCs, producing the necessary data for technological implementation. Biological inspiration stems from living organisms metabolizing and adapting to the environment (homeostasis), which is the main process transferred to engineering.

Online Publication Date Jun 1, 2018
Publication Date Jan 1, 2018
Deposit Date Nov 6, 2020
Publisher Oxford University Press (OUP)
Pages 62-72
Book Title Living Machines: A Handbook of Research in Biomimetics and Biohybrid Systems
Chapter Number 6
ISBN 9780199674923
Keywords microbial fuel cells, SymBots, natural computation, energy autonomy, computational autonomy, dynamic steady states, biofilm electrodes, metabolic homeostasis
Public URL
Contract Date Jan 1, 2018