back to article Boffins build R2-WEE-2: The urine-powered robot with a human-like heart

Scientists have taken one step closer to creating a truly autonomous waste-driven robot by building an artificial heart capable of pumping urine into the machine's bacterially-driven "engine room". The "EcoBot" is powered by "electricity-generating microbial fuel cells that employ live microorganisms to digest waste organic …


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  1. jubtastic1

    I was going to make a "Spare some piss guv?" joke

    But not after seeing the bots eating dead flies, If we're building robots that can power themselves from decaying meat then this shit isn't funny anymore.

    The concept of killer cannibal robots is way scarier than rootin' tootin' shootin' terminators.

    icon - "nom nom nom"

    1. Captain Hogwash

      Re: I was going to make a "Spare some piss guv?" joke

      Technically they wouldn't be cannibals unless they dined on other robots but otherwise I agree. I hope any such "mobile, distributed sensor network" doesn't become a "mobile, disgruntled sensor network".

    2. AdamT

      Re: I was going to make a "Spare some piss guv?" joke

      You could have gone with "Spare a penny, guv?"

      Or is that just a UK-ism?

    3. Goldmember

      Re: I was going to make a "Spare some piss guv?" joke

      "or act en masse as a "mobile, distributed sensor network". "

      should read

      or act en masse as a "mobile, distributed human flesh-eating network of sado-murder machines".

    4. JamesTQuirk

      Re: I was going to make a "Spare some piss guv?" joke

      Don't take the piss out it ...

    5. MrXavia

      Re: I was going to make a "Spare some piss guv?" joke

      My old university lecturer in robotics once made a slug eating robot, if I remember how he described it right, it caught slugs in the garden, then returned slugs to a digester that created power to recharge slug bot

      Although robots that fuel themselves on waste.. why not? would make landfills a thing of the past we would hope.. waste powered robots eating the trash....

      I am waiting for a mr fusion to power my house...

  2. Z-Eden
    Thumb Up

    Reminds me of the Brittas Empire where Colin builds a generator that takes "Waste matter and converts into Domestic Voltage"! (Cue thunderclap)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyone else

    think that looks almost like a stripped Dalek? Certainly you could fit one into the 'body' of one and have space sufficient for the control hardware...

    and it'd explain why they're always wet and slimy- perpetual golden showers would do that to anything!

    1. gwenie

      Re: Anyone else


    2. Astarte

      Re: Anyone else

      Stripped Dalek? When I read that I immediately thought of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (played by Kenneth McMillan in the Dune film) - big fat bloke, needed anti-gravity kit to move around.

  4. Professor Clifton Shallot

    Fred 2-L

    I was hoping for something more along the lines of Ro-Jaws.

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Fred 2-L

      Yes, but surely it's just a matter of time?

  5. ian 22

    A new vision of 'The Matrix'

    Think rows and rows of catheterized humans. The Matrix: taking the piss since 2013.

  6. James Hughes 1

    "After publication, Dr Ioannis Ieropoulos from the BRL got in touch to clarify: "The EcoBot line of work developed at BRL has always had the benevolent waste utilisation in mind, and so when these self-sustainable robots are being developed, the main target application is remote area access, where it would be lethal, impossible or undesirable for humans to go. This has been at the core of the research and any association with the science-fiction imaginative robots [to which] you refer would be inaccurate.""

    Well, he would say that, wouldn't he! That's what they said about Skynet.....

    1. Martin Budden

      If it is intended to work in remote areas where humans can't go, what is the point in making it human (urine) powered? Serious question.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Don't worry Dr Ioannis Ieropoulos El Reg's piss taking is entirely harmless... much like your robots... we hope.

  8. Al Pha

    Oh Yes....'s all laughs and titters until they start ripping meat bags apart to get at their bladders.

  9. James Micallef Silver badge

    Terminator power source

    Beat human up

    Point Ginourmous f***-off gun at human's head

    (human pisses himself)

    "I need your clothes, your boots..."

    1. Crisp

      Re: "I need your clothes, your boots..."

      And a urine sample.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Damn battery's dead again. Piss on it."

  11. Elmer Phud

    Fatal attraction

    So, they need a something to attract flies -- I'm not sure I'd want to be near something smelling like a large tropical flower

  12. sisk

    Future history book:

    "And so when the robot apocolypse came there was one group of robots who insisted on keeping a few humans alive and well hydrated."

  13. Why Not?

    Has to be done!

    “I, for one, welcome our new urine drinking overlords”

    Cool edit features (if you are quick off the mark) thanks!

  14. TitterYeNot


    Well, at least we know the future's golden...

  15. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    People you're not thinking *big* enough.

    The Tesla "U" Class has arrived.

    Long range, nippy acceleration and easy refueling.

  16. James Loughner

    Beer anyone?

    So our robot overlords will force feed us beer.....hmmmm

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Your Urine Or Your Life!

    Or both, maybe. First you piss here, then I eat you.

  18. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Energy from urine?

    The New York subway system becomes self sustaining.

    1. Martin Budden

      Re: Energy from urine?

      Should also work for the new Milton Keynes self-driving cabs.

      1. MrDamage Silver badge

        Street Lamps

        Think of the energy savings if all of the street lamps within a few blocks radius of your favourite drinking establishment are converted to this tech.

  19. Simon Harris

    When the thing breaks down...

    ... will it be disposed of in line with WEEE regulations?

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