Eating, Drinking, Living, Dying and Decaying Soft Robots

  • Jonathan Rossiter
  • Jonathan Winfield
  • Ioannis Ieropoulos
Conference paper
Part of the Biosystems & Biorobotics book series (BIOSYSROB, volume 17)

Abstract

Soft robotics opens up a whole range of possibilities that go far beyond conventional rigid and electromagnetic robotics. New smart materials and new design and modelling methodologies mean we can start to replicate the operations and functionalities of biological organisms, most of which exploit softness as a critical component. These range from mechanical responses, actuation principles and sensing capabilities. Additionally, the homeostatic operations of organisms can be exploited in their robotic counterparts. We can, in effect, start to make robotic organisms, rather than just robots. Important new capabilities include the fabrication of robots from soft bio-polymers, the ability to drive the robot from bio-energy scavenged from the environment, and the degradation of the robot at the end of its life. The robot organism therefore becomes an entity that lives, dies, and decays in the environment, just like biological organisms. In this chapter we will examine how soft robotics have the potential to impact upon pressing environmental pollution, protection and remediation concerns.

References

  1. 1.
    Research and Markets: Rare Earths Elements in High-Tech Industries: Market Analysis and Forecasts amid China’s Trade, January 2016, 270 pages (2016)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Tesla: Tesla Powerwall. http://www.teslamotors.com/powerwall (2016). Accessed 28 Feb 2016
  3. 3.
    USGS: Lithium Annual publication: Mineral Commodity Summaries: Lithium: 2016. http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/commodity/lithium/mcs-2016-lithi.pdf. United States Geological Survey (2016). Accessed 29 June 2016
  4. 4.
    Vikström, H., Davidsson, S., Höök, M.: Lithium availability and future production outlooks. Appl. Energy 110, 252–266 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Hubbert, M.K.: Techniques of Prediction as Applied to Production of Oil and Gas. US Department of Commerce, NBS Special Publication 631 (1982)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Schuyler, Q.A., Wilcox, C., Townsend, K., Hardesty, B.D., Marshall, N.J.: Mistaken identity? Visual similarities of marine debris to natural prey items of sea turtles. BMC Ecol. 14, 14 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Accinelli, C., Saccà, M.L., Mencarelli, M., Vicari, A.L.: Deterioration of bioplastic carrier bags in the environment and assessment of a new recycling alternative. Chemosphere 89(2), 136–143 (2012)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Wagner, M., Scherer, C., et al.: Microplastics in freshwater ecosystems: what we know and what we need to know. Environ. Sci. Eur. 26, 12 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Cannon, W.B.: The Wisdom of the Body. W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., New York (1932)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Ieropoulos, I., Greenman, J., Melhuish, C.: Imitating metabolism: energy autonomy in biologically inspired robots. In: Proceedings of the 2nd International Symposium on Imitation of Animals and Artifacts, pp. 191–194 (2003)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Gajda, I., Greenman, J., Melhuish, C., Ieropoulos, I.: Self-sustainable electricity production from algae grown in a microbial fuel cell system. Biomass Bioenergy 82, 87–93 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Yoshida, S., et al.: A bacterium that degrades and assimilates poly(ethylene terephthalate). Science 351(6278), 1196–1199 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Philamore, H., Rossiter, J., Ieropoulos, I.: An energetically-autonomous robotic tadpole with single membrane stomach and tail. In: Wilson, S.P., Verschure, P.F., Mura, A., Prescott, T.J. (eds.) Living Machines 2015. LNCS, vol. 9222, pp. 366–378. Springer, Heidelberg (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Loepfe, M., Schumacher, C.M., Lustenberger, U.B., Stark, W.J.: An untethered, jumping roly-poly soft robot driven by combustion. Soft Robot. 2, 33–41 (2015)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Cvetkovic, C., Raman, R., Chan, V., Williams, B.J., Tolish, M., Bajaj, P., Sakar, M.S., Asada, H.H., Taher, M., Saif, A., Bashir, R.: Three-dimensionally printed biological machines powered by skeletal muscle. PNAS 111(28), 10125–10130 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Rossiter, J., Winfield, J., Ieropoulos, I.: Here today, gone tomorrow: biodegradable soft robots. In: Proceedings of SPIE, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD), vol. 9798, 97981S (2016)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Tangboriboon, N., Datsanae, S., Onthong, A., Kunanuruksapong, R., Sirivat, A.: Electromechanical responses of dielectric elastomer composite actuators based on natural rubber and alumina. J. Elastom. Plast. 45(2), 143–161 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Chambers, L., Winfield, J., Ieropoulos, I., Rossiter, J.M.: Biodegradable and edible gelatine actuators for use as artificial muscles. In: Proceeding of SPIE: Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices. SPIE—International Society for Optical Engineering, Bellingham (2014)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Winfield, J., Ieropoulos, I., Rossiter, J., Greenman, J., Patton, D.: Biodegradation and proton exchange using natural rubber in microbial fuel cells. Biodegradation 24(6), 733–739 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Winfield, J., Chambers, L.D., Rossiter, J.M., Stinchcombe, A., Walter, X.A., Greenman, J., Ieropoulos, I.: Fade to green: a biodegradable stack of microbial fuel cells. ChemSusChem 8(16), 2705–2712 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan Rossiter
    • 1
  • Jonathan Winfield
    • 2
  • Ioannis Ieropoulos
    • 2
  1. 1.Bristol Robotics LaboratoryUniversity of BristolBristolUK
  2. 2.University of the West of EnglandBristolUK

Personalised recommendations