|Robots eating robots.|
'Cyborg' bacteria deliver green fuel source from sunlight
Aug 2017, BBC news
Scientists have created bacteria covered in tiny semiconductors [solar panels] that generate a potential fuel source from sunlight, carbon dioxide and water.
The so-called "cyborg" bugs produce acetic acid [vinegar], a chemical that can then be turned into fuel and plastic.
After combing through old microbiology literature, researchers realised that some bugs have a natural defence to cadmium, mercury or lead that lets them turn the heavy metal into a sulphide which the bacteria express as a tiny, crystal semiconductor on their surfaces.
Dr Kelsey Sakimoto from Harvard University in Massachusetts, US:
"We grow them and we introduce a small amount of cadmium, and naturally they produce cadmium sulphide crystals which then agglomerate on the outsides of their bodies."
They have an efficiency of around 80%, which is four times the level of commercial solar panels, and more than six times the level of chlorophyll.
The Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot (EATR) was a project by Robotic Technology Inc. (RTI) and Cyclone Power Technologies Inc. to develop a robotic vehicle that could forage for plant biomass to fuel itself, theoretically operating indefinitely. It was being developed as a concept as part of the DARPA military projects for the United States military. [And so it eats dead bodies too]