Row-bot: An energetically autonomous artificial water boatman

Jonathan Rossiter, Hemma Philamore, Andrew Stinchcombe, Ioannis Ieropoulos

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

27 Citations (Scopus)


We present a design for an energetically autonomous artificial organism, combining two subsystems; a bio-inspired energy source and bio-inspired actuation. The work is the first demonstration of energetically autonomy in a microbial fuel cell (MFC)-powered, swimming robot taking energy from it's surrounding, aqueous environment. In contrast to previous work using stacked MFC power sources, the Row-bot employs a single microbial fuel cell as an artificial stomach and uses commercially available voltage step-up hardware to produce usable voltages. The energy generated exceeds the energy requirement to complete the mechanical actuation needed to refuel. Energy production and actuation are demonstrated separately with the results showing that the combination of these subsystems will produce closed-loop energetic autonomy. The work shows a crucial step in the development of autonomous robots capable of long term self-power. Bio-inspiration for the design of the Row-bot was taken from the water boatman beetle. This proof of concept study opens many avenues for the further development of the subsystems comprising the Row-bot, and the functionality of the robot itself.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of 2015 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS)
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)978147999934
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2015

Publication series

NameIEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems
ISSN (Print)2153-0858
ISSN (Electronic)2153-0866

Structured keywords

  • Tactile Action Perception


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