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Living machinesA handbook of research in biomimetics and biohybrid systems$
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Tony J. Prescott, Nathan Lepora, and Paul F.M.J Verschure

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199674923

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199674923.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 15 October 2019

Energy and metabolism

Energy and metabolism

(p.62) Chapter 6 Energy and metabolism
Living machines

Ioannis A. Ieropoulos

Pablo Ledezma

Giacomo Scandroglio

Chris Melhuish

John Greenman

Oxford University Press

Energy resulting from metabolism is essential for any living system—from single-cell to multicellular organisms. This also applies to symbiotic robots (SymBots), which function utilizing the energy (electricity) generated by living microorganisms. In the context of living technologies, artificial symbiosis between the living and the artificial entities of the machine becomes vital for the whole system. If the living entity stops generating energy, the mechatronic system ceases to work yet it is the mechatronic system that provides the microbes with food, and gets rid of their waste. This chapter presents and discusses SymBots, based on EcoBots that operate using Microbial Fuel Cells as onboard living energy devices. The interface between science and engineering is exemplified through the study and optimization of MFCs, producing the necessary data for technological implementation. Biological inspiration stems from living organisms metabolizing and adapting to the environment (homeostasis), which is the main process transferred to engineering.

Keywords:   microbial fuel cells, SymBots, natural computation, energy autonomy, computational autonomy, dynamic steady states, biofilm electrodes, metabolic homeostasis

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