Shelly Palmer Radio Report – November 21, 2013

Could the robots of the future be powered by urine? A team of scientists in the UK have developed a system that could keep robots powered for a long time on nothing more than our bodily waste. The system centers around an artificial heart, which provides a microbial fuel cell with the urine it needs to turn waste into electricity. The fuel cells contain microorganisms that convert the urine into electrons, which are then harvested into electrical current. The pumping device can pinged with an electrical current to force urine into the fuel cell. This latest ideas marks the fourth generation of what are known as ‘EcoBots.’ Previous versions were powered by rotten produce, dead flies, waste water and sludge. This latest iteration has ample fuel available, as the scientists have suggested the robots could refuel from public lavatories. The system uses less electricity than it provides but isn’t very efficient yet, so don’t worry about running into robots in public bathrooms any time soon.

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit


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