Background: The potential to directly harness photosynthesis to make actuators, biosensors and bioprocessors has been previously demonstrated in the literature. Herein, this capability has been expanded to more advanced systems — Marimo Actuated Rover Systems (MARS) — which are capable of autonomous, solar powered, movement. Results: We demonstrate this ability is both a practical and viable alternative to conventional mobile platforms for exploration and dynamic environmental monitoring. Prototypes have been successfully tested to measure their speed of travel and ability to automatically bypass obstacles. Further, MARS is electromagnetically silent, thus avoiding the background noise generated by conventional electro/mechanical platforms which reduces instrument sensitivity. The cost of MARS is significantly lower than platforms based on conventional technology. Conclusions: An autonomous, low-cost, lightweight, compact size, photosynthetically powered rover is reported. The potential for further system enhancements are identified and under development.
Phillips, N., Draper, T. C., Mayne, R., Reynolds, D. M., & Adamatzky, A. (2022). Marimo actuated rover systems. Journal of Biological Engineering, 16(1), Article 3. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13036-021-00279-0