Navigation Links
Navy researchers investigate small-scale autonomous planetary explorers
Date:1/3/2012

WASHINGTON Robotic exploration to remote regions, to include distant planetary bodies, is often limited by energy requirements to perform, in repetition, even the simplest tasks. With this in mind, researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory are looking into a novel approach that could some day aid scientific space and planetary research without the need for power-intense options often used today.

Integrating the NRL developed technologies in microrobotics, microbial fuel cells, and low power electronics, space robotics scientist Dr. Gregory P. Scott at NRL's Spacecraft Engineering Department inspires a novel autonomous microrover, weighing in at nearly one-kilogram and powered by an advanced microbial fuel cell (MFC) technology.

"The goal is to demonstrate a more efficient and reliable energy source for use in powering small robotic vehicles in environments where the option for human intervention is non-existent," said Scott. "Microbial fuel cells coupled with extremely low-power electronics and a low energy requirement for mobility addresses gaps in power technology applicable to all robotic systems, especially planetary robotics."

The MFC was selected because of its long-term durability owing to the ability of microorganisms to reproduce and the bacterium's high energy density compared with traditional lithium-ion power sources. This research explores in more detail the use of microbes as a power source and moves to eliminate the existing bulk associated with MFC infrastructure, such as large, power intensive pump systems and MFC mass and volume requirements.

A portion of the energy generated by the MFC will be used to maintain onboard electronics and control systems with the remaining energy directed toward slowly charging a battery or capacitor until a sufficient amount of electricity is collected. Once sufficient power is stored, the system can then discharge this collected energy to activate a more power intensive scientific instrument or to propel the rover forward using a novel tumbling or hopping locomotion system.

Focusing on a pure culture anaerobic bacterium, such as Geobacter sulfurreducens, as the core of the microbial fuel cell-based system, the power generation technology for this research would have an exceptionally long lifetime, beneficial for recharging onboard batteries or capacitors and providing for long-duration scouting missions.

"As we move forward in the utilization of MFCs as an energy generation method, this research begins to lay the groundwork for low powered electronics with a long-term potential for space and robotic applications," adds Scott.

Through his selection as a Fellow to the newly re-instated NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program, Scott was awarded a research grant to investigate the initial phase of this innovative concept.


'/>"/>
Contact: Daniel Parry
daniel.parry@nrl.navy.mil
202-767-2541
Naval Research Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. Notre Dame researchers develop paint-on solar cells
2. Quantum computing has applications in magnetic imaging, say Pitt researchers
3. Researchers measure nanometer scale temperature
4. Notre Dame researchers demonstrate new DNA detection technique
5. Researchers realize high-power, narrowband terahertz source at room temperature
6. MU researchers identify key plant immune response in fight against bacteria
7. Researchers develop one of the worlds smallest electronic circuits
8. Two Top Biological Imaging Centers Offer Powerful Free Online Tool to Researchers, Educators, and Public
9. Penn and Brown researchers demonstrate earthquake friction effect at the nanoscale
10. UCLA researchers demonstrate fully printed carbon nanotube transistor circuits for displays
11. Innovative MetaMorph® NX Software Shatters Barriers Between Researchers and Image Analysis Goals with Exclusive Visual Workflow
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/8/2016)... 2016  Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc. (NYSE: DPLO) announced today that its new website has gone live. ... knowledge-based and mobile-friendly. Visit the new site: ... ... ... "The goal was to reimagine the website ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... -- ATCC, the premier global biological materials resource and ... life science researchers that are working to address the ... CDC website . --> CDC website ... single-stranded RNA virus of the Flaviviridae family, genus Flavivirus, ... Viruses. Zika virus is transmitted to humans primarily through ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... -- Australian-US drug discovery and development company, Novogen Limited (ASX:NRT; ... new Chairman, Mr John O,Connor , and new Deputy ... James Garner , has also been formally appointed to ... Mr Iain Ross , will resume his role on ... Garner , has also been formally appointed to the Board ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... ... February 04, 2016 , ... Shimadzu Scientific Instruments ... host live demos and poster sessions, and present on the analysis of mycotoxins ... place March 6 to 10 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:2/2/2016)... This BCC Research report provides a ... the recent advances in high throughput ‘omic platforms ... forward. Includes forecast through 2019. Use ... opportunities that exist in the bioinformatic market. Analyze ... well as IT and bioinformatics service providers. Analyze ...
(Date:2/1/2016)... Rising sales of consumer electronics ... intuitive gesture control market size ... consumer electronics coupled with new technological advancements to drive ... through 2020   --> ... advancements to drive global touchfree intuitive gesture control market ...
(Date:1/25/2016)... Unisys Corporation (NYSE: UIS ) today announced the implementation ... New York City , to help U.S. ... the United States using passports that are ... of the system at Dulles last year. The system will ... 2016. --> pilot testing of the system at ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):