Author Topic: Do you believe robots should be able to harvest their own energy?  (Read 4559 times)

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Offline ioannisTopic starter

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Im doing a project relating to robot autonomy in my final year of my course and I am researching the importance of energetic autonomy, in other words designing robots that are able to identify, harvest & manage their energy resources. I would like to know the general opinion on the matter.Do you think robots less dependant on humans for their power are worth it? What kind of energy resourses would you suggest? What kind of techniques could be used to harvest energy? What kind of behaviour could a robot like this be programmed to have? Let me know what you think!

Offline gmatkins

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Re: Do you believe robots should be able to harvest their own energy?
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2008, 03:57:39 PM »
I think if we ever want to see robots that really learn, we need robots capable of self-reference. Energy autonomy creates a kind of self-interest that can be built into a learning structure. Plus, it's just really neat. (Yeah BEAM)

Offline Fredrik Andersson

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Re: Do you believe robots should be able to harvest their own energy?
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2008, 05:02:51 PM »
I just got a vision of a robot walking along a road, then stopping just to fold up a large solar panel and just bask in the sunlight... cool...
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Offline Rebelgium

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Re: Do you believe robots should be able to harvest their own energy?
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2008, 05:07:12 PM »
A pretty feasable idea I just had is a robot that visually recognises powerplugs in the wall, and plugs itself in. Simple :P
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Offline Dank55

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Re: Do you believe robots should be able to harvest their own energy?
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2008, 05:43:06 PM »
>visually recognizes wall sockets

RFID chips are currently reported to be 5 cents apiece in very large quantities.  Hitachi's prototypes are so small they're almost invisible, and they use a 180 nm design process, which means they'll be almost free when the market matures, since the 180 nm process machines won't have much better to do.

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Offline Dank55

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Re: Do you believe robots should be able to harvest their own energy?
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2008, 05:47:43 PM »
...meaning, it's already cost effective now and will get a lot cheaper soon to tag things with RFID chips for easy identification.

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Offline Rebelgium

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Re: Do you believe robots should be able to harvest their own energy?
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2008, 06:10:09 PM »
I've heard of eatable and sprayable RFID chips...We'll never be safe again :-X

Anyway, thanks for correcting me there dank55, all of the sudden I couldn't remember the word "wall sockets" anymore... ::)
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Offline Admin

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Re: Do you believe robots should be able to harvest their own energy?
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2008, 04:27:14 PM »
I was always the fan of the robot that ate snails for battery power . . . or the robot swarm that eats little children . . . oh wait . . .

In all seriousness however, robots will get power the same way electronics and other devices do today.

Gas stations, wind power, generators, wall sockets, solar panels, etc.

But robots won't need help plugging themselves in . . .

Offline bukowski

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Re: Do you believe robots should be able to harvest their own energy?
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2008, 05:47:26 PM »
Aristotle said that the only way we could reach a utopia is if machines did everything... And he meant EVERYTHING. If we could reach a point where robots would do their own upkeep, design and produce themselves, and do their specific tasks, then we would reach that point... I just dont know what we would end up doing with all of our time.

Offline Trumpkin

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Re: Do you believe robots should be able to harvest their own energy?
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2008, 08:52:54 PM »
we would all die of boredom. ;D
Robots are awesome!

Offline ioannisTopic starter

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Re: Do you believe robots should be able to harvest their own energy?
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2008, 01:55:15 AM »
The future is not as distant as some may think, a couple of examples of robots that run on Microbial Fuel Cells have been developed, they run on sugar or dead flies with microorganisms such as bateria as the biocatalysts producing small currents that can be harvested to power the electronics and motors. I myself am developing a mobile robot with the goal of making it totally powered by solar, so far the electronics can be powered but the motors still run on 4 AA batteries, I have programmed the solar panel to rotate towards the sun when outside to it gathers power for itself, my aim is to make it totally energetically autonomous.

Search the web for Ecobot I & Ecobot II, Slugbot and Gastronome(Chew Chew), those are a few food powered robots.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2008, 01:58:12 AM by ioannis »

Offline cooldog

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Re: Do you believe robots should be able to harvest their own energy?
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2008, 05:36:26 AM »
guys if we have a photovore run from a solar panel we would never have to bring it in for batterys. so if that happens it is the first step in robots not needing us. all they have to do is self replicate and self repair
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Offline ScorpIon

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Re: Do you believe robots should be able to harvest their own energy?
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2008, 06:54:15 AM »
What if it's a cloudy day? Would it run at nighttime? :P
It will stand still at some point, then continue when on full charge. I prefer a robot that goes inside and plugs itself in when low on power.

Offline ioannisTopic starter

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Re: Do you believe robots should be able to harvest their own energy?
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2008, 07:57:58 AM »
The solar panel could easily charge a battery pack while the system runs on another and then simply switch when the system is running low, storing the solar energy would allow the robot to run when not exposed to the sun, when it eventually did come into sun it would be programmed identify and adjust. The whole point of having robots that can perform such actions allows them to venture into areas where humans cannot go to assist in charging, that is the whole point in creating autonomous robots, they can carry out actions while not depending on humans.

Offline ScorpIon

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Re: Do you believe robots should be able to harvest their own energy?
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2008, 08:06:14 AM »
Several batteries weigh more and needs stronger motors to keep the robot going at decent speed. Stronger motors need more power, which needs more battery, that has to be recharged for longer... etc etc etc
Solar doesn't give that much energy, it could run out of juice fast if it's not some small toothbrush-racer, which wouldn't be able to carry a large battery anyway. What would such a thing do anyway? Run about? :P

Modding the 50$ to do this stuff and mount some gps-thing on it would be cool though... you could sit home and track how long it went/is going. I dunno how much juice that robot drains and how well solar would help.


Does robot marathons exist? ::)
« Last Edit: February 19, 2008, 09:59:41 AM by ScorpIon »

Offline ioannisTopic starter

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Re: Do you believe robots should be able to harvest their own energy?
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2008, 01:41:13 PM »
Yes you are right but of course only if you experiment will you know what can be done, we all have our theories, I admit I have mine but all i can do is just try out ideas and test them to see what can be done and what can be improved. Solar produces much more power than the microbial implementations but still that type of research is invested in because you never know what you may invent!

Offline Rebelgium

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Re: Do you believe robots should be able to harvest their own energy?
« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2008, 12:55:43 PM »
Technology only allows us roboteers to have solar panels as a helping power source to make our batteries last a bit longer between charging the batteries. For now... 
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Offline Trumpkin

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Re: Do you believe robots should be able to harvest their own energy?
« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2008, 10:48:00 AM »
i think irobot already has robots that go back to their charging docks.
Robots are awesome!

Offline Asellith

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Re: Do you believe robots should be able to harvest their own energy?
« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2008, 11:08:15 AM »
Back to the word harvest stated earlier. Why couldn't we make a robot that was rather larger so it could perform a specific task but have several smaller ones used to 'Harvest' energy. Little photopoppers that run around and gather energy into batteries or even just big caps. When the tank is full they return to the motherbot and drop off their stored power. Then at night the motherbot could protect the smaller bots by storing them inside and moving slower to conserve power. Would be kinda cool to watch them work.
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Offline ioannisTopic starter

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Re: Do you believe robots should be able to harvest their own energy?
« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2008, 01:07:51 PM »
That is more like it, thats a good idea, energy matters revolving around robotics give birth to new views on robot cooperation which is a very important area of research itself, each mobile robotic solution cannot be approached individually without concidering other important aspects of mobile robotic systems. Autonomy, Cooperation, Perception, Navigation, all as important as each other and all need each other to create a wholistic view of robotics, a perfect system should take all of these areas of research into account in order to create the best type of robot possible. Very good idea the one mentioned above, just like families or collonies in the animal kingdom help each other survive why not create robots that can do the same?

 


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