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Plankton Eating Robotic Submarine


A couple years ago a group of scientists at the University of Bristol made news when they created a robot powered by the dead bodies of flies.  Now, they plan on taking that concept to a new realm of usefulness by creating a plankton powered submarine. 

Because robotic  research submarines need a constant source of power, they have so far been severely limited in the order cialis cialis amount of data the can collect and viagra no prescription required send before either running out of juice, or needing to head home for a recharge. But now the Bristol team has designed a microbial fuel cell that can be powered by two things abundant in sea water, plankton and dissolved oxygen.  These can be consumed by the bacteria in the robot's fuel cell, creating a current and charging the batteries. 

This is actually a considerably more useful proposition than an insect powered robot, as submarines have a much greater need for prolonged autonomy. And, for some reason, it seems less creepy than the fly eating robot. Still, they're working on creating fully autonomous robots that power themselves from the bodies of once-living organisms. Maybe I watched The Matrix too many times, but this might not actually be the best idea. 
In any case, we've not seen any numbers now how much power these microbial fuel cells really can produce. And there's no information on whether these plankton powered robots will ever help us better understand our oceans.

Via NewScientist (paid subscription required.)

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