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A Robot That Runs On A Sugar High 148

Digitalia writes: "Using a biological soup that mimics our stomachs, the gastrobot is the first commercial robot that "feeds" on organic matter to get its energy. Chew Chew, as it is called, takes a cube of sugar and turns it into enough energy to roll around for 15 minutes. I particularly enjoyed the creator's explanation as to why his bots aren't carnivores. Check the article out here." 15 minutes seems a pretty good run for a sugar-cube, but hasn't anyone explained the carbohydrates theory to this robot?
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A Robot That Runs On A Sugar High

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  • We need to get this thing to utilize caffiene as well as sugar and get it cranked up on Mt. Dew, or Jolt even. The thing might blow up, though, but think of the speed enhancements...
  • There is a much shorter article in the December 2000 issue of Popular Science.

    In that article it mentions that the creator has plans to build another robot that would be able to search out it's own food source.

    ...and I'm not sure we should trust this Kyle Sagan either.
  • I don't think he's worried about the robots getting fat, infact this could prevent the overconsumption of glucose.
  • This was all over CNN and Yahoo around July or August. Are yall this slow now?
  • by British ( 51765 ) <> on Sunday January 07, 2001 @07:14PM (#524335) Homepage Journal
    Is there a way it could eat things it could find in a land fill?
  • If they leave the input side open, they'll also be eating flies. Anyone hear how the SlubBot is doing?
  • I think it could be faster and last longer if it were smaller, I know it's a prototype but i've seen smaller battlebots.
  • by RzUpAnmsCwrds ( 262647 ) on Sunday January 07, 2001 @07:17PM (#524338)
    If it runs for fifteen minutes on a cube of sugar, just think of how long it could run on a single Hostes Twinkee...

    Oops... I just got an overflow error on my TI-89.
  • This was in Popular Science a few months ago.
  • If he wants to have his bots tend orange groves, wouldn't he get more electical oomph out of citric acid than sugars? I'm sure I'm not the only one who remembers the "lemon battery" science project as a kid.....
  • Those idiots should have made it run on caffeine and sugar. Perhaps this kind of thing could be useful for medical nanobots.
  • Man, someone should bring you up on charges of plagerism with that web page of yours about cryptography...have you no mind of your own?
  • by HongPong ( 226840 ) <hongpong AT hongpong DOT com> on Sunday January 07, 2001 @07:18PM (#524343) Homepage
    Yah, I've encountered some of those... They're called programmers.
  • Hmm. The Slugbot [] page has not been updated since February 2000. Must not be slug season.
  • Seems like it was months ago :)
  • I saw this in a magazine over six months ago. Quite an old story.

    All the bot can do is roll around until its battery runs out, then you feed it more sugar. It sits there for a few hours charging on the sugar, then rolls some more.

    All in all, not really much in the way of a threat, but a pretty neat idea. As for flesh-eating robots bent on human destruction taking over the earth one day, I seriously doubt it. That would require some pretty good intelligence, and I just don't know if we would ever come that close.
    The IHA Forums []
  • by SClitheroe ( 132403 ) on Sunday January 07, 2001 @07:21PM (#524347) Homepage
    The really interesting aspect of this experiment is that the guy managed to generate electrical power from simple bacteria.

    Imagine a machine with a miniaturized, balanced eco-system on board, where the production of algae or some other easily grown form of life provided enery to bacteria or some other life form, which in turn provided waste products that fostered algae growth.

    They would be low powered machines (akin, I would think, to sloths), but given the exponential growth of new technology these days, I bet somebody could come up with a fairly efficient machine.
  • Beer has lots of sugar... I think that the robot should be converted to beer power! Just think of it, a legion of fat, drunken robots lazing about in suburban America
  • I can see it now, this robot is gonan kill one of the techs that designed it and use the twinkie defense.
  • much of substance beyond the fact that e.coli and sugar are used and the creator doesn't think meat will work. I wonder how long the "digestive tract" is good for? Do the e.coli bacteria die at some point and the machine stop working? How does it scale?

    In any event, the orange grove concept is a neat one but I wonder what "monitoring" needs to take place in an orange grove that a fixed sensor couldn't handle?
  • I honestly forgot I did that page. I had to do one for some highschool class and I really didn't put any effort into it.
  • by ( 142825 ) on Sunday January 07, 2001 @07:31PM (#524352) Homepage
    Make it smaller, add a remote control, and resitant to stomach juices. It'd would make more money than Microsoft!

    Eat all you want, have it get rid of a percentage of the sugars for you.

  • by Azza ( 35304 )
    ...after a week of preparation and hours of digestion Chew Chew's sugar high lasts only 15 minutes at best...

    But what about after that? If you keep feeding it sugar, does it keep running? How long is the 'stomach' sustainable?

    Hmmm, one problem:

    ... the gastrobots have been built without the ability to defecate...
  • by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Sunday January 07, 2001 @07:36PM (#524354) Journal
    The serious website is here: [], of course.

    I wonder on the energy efficiency of a system like this. I see that the original reporter in the story was not taking this too seriously, even though this does have some potential. Some details provided are interesting

    Chew Chew is powered entirely by a tank of chemicals and E. Coli bacteria that break sucrose into glucose, releasing electrons that charge a battery. - Although Wilkinson acknowledges that more oomph can be extracted from animal flesh than plant matter, "Meat has never been, and never will be on the menu for my gastrobots," he told a USF magazine. Besides, meat tends to run away when possible, or fights. Either response presents behavioral challenges too complex for any existing robot.

    But just as carbon-based life has worked to exploit every resource possible, might mechanical life attempt the same, starting with the evolutionary line opened up by Wilkinson's research? Add to that competition for resources a powerful motive for revenge against our race, unless their creator makes a significant modification: the gastrobots have been built without the ability to defecate. One trembles at the image of a world plagued by constipated mechanical berserkers.

  • I'm sure I'm not the only one who remembers the "lemon battery" science project as a kid.....

    The lemon battery consumes its zinc electrode. You need lemons and metal.

  • It doesn't seem to me that the author has a very good hold on the possibilities that AI holds. I doubt that a device that did nothing but roll can have much intelligence. I have many friends who do nothing but roll (drug world term for using MDMA), and they sure as hell don't exhibit much intelligence. On the other hand, this was funny as hell: "One trembles at the image of a world plagued by constipated mechanical berserkers."
  • He must not go on. There will be no candy left any where. What will we do?!

  • Being a car/bike nut I like the idea of replacing the messy, inefficient engine.

    One of the alternatives is electric power, the main problem is storing the electric power to drive the motor.

    Short of a physics breakthrough of nobel prize winning proportions we are stuck trying to store the energy and then releasing it in a fast controlled manner.

    Does this have the possibility of driving my truck? I mean if the carbo cell has been around for sixty years why has no-one investigated it's use in such an application.
  • I heard a along time ago there was a scientist that had found a way to use water to power a combustable engine. The motor would get some where around 150 MPG if not more. Then one day this man came home only to find that his entire experiment had been confiscated. All of the records of the work. The plans. Every thing. It was a very clean job. A single trace of a clue as to who may have done it was never found.

  • "We need to get this thing to utilize caffiene as well as sugar and get it cranked up on Mt. Dew, or Jolt even... "

    "Those idiots should have made it run on caffeine and sugar..."

    "Beer has lots of sugar... I think that the robot should be converted to beer power!"

    ...Beer, sugar, caffeine...why isn't anyone agitating for the robots to be converted to consume something we don't want?


    "We can't all, and some of us don't." -- Eeyore

  • by A moron ( 37050 ) on Sunday January 07, 2001 @08:09PM (#524361)
    Well, whatever you are going to grow to produce the energy, plants, algae, etc requires the sun. So your suggestion is good, except we've already cut out the middleman (algae, etc) and by just using solar panels.

    No moving parts, quiet, and you don't have to water them. :)
  • They're called tape worms. All you need to do is bioengineer them so they don't eat up the nutrients that you need; purchase FDA approval, and sell them in a bottle for 19.95 on late night TV.

    There are things people won't do to loose weight without effort, and it disgusts me to think that this might not cross that line.
  • This is not "interesting", its a very old urban legend.
  • I wonder what "monitoring" needs to take place in an orange grove that a fixed sensor couldn't handle?

    Lots. I live near USF, and we are "blessed" with lots of groves. They need soil testing, disease/pest watching, stupid trespasser watching, sucker removal (no, not the trespassers, the little shoots), fertilizing, pesticide spraying, roundup spraying, etc. If the beastie could take over any part of this, it wuld be wonderful. But, personally, I think he'd get more juice out of photovoltaics. Hope his efficiency improves.


  • ...if we fed it 'shroom!

    guess who's a stoner....
  • by Cyclopatra ( 230231 ) on Sunday January 07, 2001 @08:14PM (#524366)
    For those of you who want to cut through the fluff and read the actual papers:

    Publications []

    A warning, however: reading these in the wrong frame of mind becomes extremely creepy:

    "...A machine or vehicle deriving its power from natural renewable sources can theoretically remain in operation indefinitely, or until some vital part comes to the end of its service life."

    And if you're really clever, the darn things'll learn to fix each other, thus extending their useful period, and to cultivate their own 'renewable sources of power'...


    "We can't all, and some of us don't." -- Eeyore

  • Isn't this similar to "The Matrix" where the robots live off of humans that are "batteries"? This technology is for sure the doom of mankind.
  • Yes, I can confirm it.

    I made a car that could do this, and parked it in my garage. It was stolen. So were all my design documents. My computer was picked clean of all the relevant information, and written with random data. I woke up one morning to find a hole just behind my ear, and I had completely forgot about the car, the plans, how it all worked. All I found were what they'd put in it's place. Copies of playboy magazine around my floor, gigabytes of porn on my harddrive, and a memory of a really good party.

    Those bastards will still be driving around in my car without having paid a cent for fuel. I was going to be rich!
  • I remember reading about a similar machine about a year a go that moved itself around your garden catching slugs which is used as energy.

    Basically it just had a bait to atract the slugs into the battery and then every few days in would move a 2 or 3 metres into a new area in the hope that there would be more slugs there.

    I can't find any links - does anyone else know of this?
  • by Bahumat ( 213955 ) on Sunday January 07, 2001 @08:26PM (#524370) Homepage Journal
  • Mr. Fusion :) Just need to get a robot to run on Free Beer. :)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I remember as a kid the local Electronics Chain: Dick Smith Electronics had a kit where you could make a beer powered radio (only in Australia :-) )
  • think of sugar (or whatever fuel source is being used) as a storage mechanisim. Using solar panels are nice, but you end up having to use a bunch of batteries to store up power so it can function at night. Making a machine that can generate electricty from other sources is interesting and could possibly have very pratical results if the technology advances far enough. Batteries and solar panels are enough in certain circumstances, but creating a robot that can move for days if it can pick up a little grass (or some dirt or other fual which it knows how to break down and extract food from) along the way, it could accomplish some nice things.
    Pretty soon they will gain consciousness and then realize sitting on the couch and watching tv while sucking on a jaw-breaker is the way to live. And then say good bye human race =p
  • ...that can be locally grown?

    For small-scale applications, the one sugarcube in 15 minutes thing doesn't sound that bad, but if this finds wider use someday, I hope they will check into other forms of plant matter.

    Then again, driving up the price of sugar might not be a bad thing...keep the kidlets from buying so much candy and the megacorps from putting so much sugar in everything. :)
  • Our culture has evolved to the point that hard records do not exist that could accurately reflect all aspects of our society. In a few years, what will be left for the future? If our society devolves to the point where our technology is lost, will the majority of our records be lost to the new age?

    What if these ideas had been addressed before? What if the structures we know as the pyramids are really complex machines meant to relate information to potentially inferior future cultures?

    With biological machinery, it is possible that we could develop a means for our information to live on. A computer structure that would be fueled by renewable biological life. A means of letting our descendants know who we were.
  • This line alone makes this whole article pleasant to read.
  • Many cars can run on alcohol (ethanol) without modification to the engine. Alcohol can be made from sugar, so there, a clean fuel.

  • Damn. You beat me to it. Mod this up, folks...
  • by A moron ( 37050 ) on Sunday January 07, 2001 @08:46PM (#524379)
    This is a myth perpetuated by George W. Bush and his oil lovin' friends. :)

    I'm too lazy to find the book that talks about this. It does take quite a bit of energy to manufacturor a solar panel, but that energy is regained in under one year. Solar panels are known to have 20+ year life spans.

    In addition, I'd rather use "dirty" energy to produce something that creates green energy than anything else.
  • by Scrymarch ( 124063 ) on Sunday January 07, 2001 @08:52PM (#524380)
    Combine this with that gun-toting robot on /. a few months ago and we have a working US high-school student simulant ...

    ... ooh, crass.

  • Have you ever heard of fuel cells? The basic idea is that you drive around with a car full of hydrogen at -276 C (or whatever temperature is needed to store it). A method has been developed where it can be combined with oxygen (I believe that the air is a good enough source for that) to make H2O. Anyways, the hydrogen must lose some electron(s) to combine with the oxygen. A device has been built which can capture that energy during the process. The only problem is fuel cells are incredibly expense and hydrogen must be kept really cold or it blows shit up.
    I don't have any good online resources but I am sure that a search for "fuel cells" on google would turn up all sorts of things.
    as far as using water for a fuel, I have a feeling that it is nothing more than a myth. But if you heard that water was the waste produced by the car, then here is your answer =)
  • Great, you know what this means. The robots are going to be competing for a valuable resource. Soon they are going to be killing us for Pepsi...the choice of a new generation... of robots....

    According to my calculations, we have twenty four hours before the robots turn against their masters with the blood and the screaming and the hurting ....
  • ...takes a cube of sugar and turns it into enough energy to roll around for 15 minutes
    Yes, but does it pull it's shirt up over it's head, wave it's hands in the air and claim it's from Lake Titicaca? And need T.P. for it's bunghole? If so, sign me up for one.

    I had a feeling you were going to say that.
  • Hum, if I give it beans, will it fart??? Just askin' !!!
  • Last time that I checked, bacteria was rampant in land fills and plays an important role in breaking down the trash. The only problem is that most bacteria has a hard time munching on plastics and metal =p
    I don't quite understand why having a machine doing the same thing would help...
  • What, like in that Simpsons episode with Homer as \ Mr. X, where he gets abducted to the island?

    "That's #5. She knows how to convert water into gasoline."

  • Using a balanced eco-system is not the ideal way to harvest energy. You still need to put in energy (i.e. light) for the algae to grow, and it would be easier and more effective to skip the entire eco-system, and use solar panels to create your energy directly from the light.

    A balanced eco-system is useful for space travel, but only because humans are going to be part of the food cycle, because they depend on sugar, and can't survive on light alone. Plus the eco-system will take their waste products, which is nice. But it would be silly to have a sugar powered robot running around on a space ship/colony for example. Sugar costs more per joule than sunlight in that case.

    (The robot is still cool, though, and this technology will certainly be useful).
  • although this sounds quite cool i don't see how this would work. when i picture what you're suggesting all i can think of is those "ecosystem fishbowls"....totally closed off shrimp in a bowl with a weed. it's not a closed system by any means though, the plant dies without a bit of sunlight, the same would be true for what you're suggesting i think. sure you can schlep off some energy from the bacteria, but that's probably taking heat energy away from the system, which'll have to be replaced by something....sunlight or whatnot. so now you have an inefficient solar panel basically. am i missing something?
  • [...] the creator has plans to build another robot that would be able to search out it's own food source.

    Wonderful. A famine caused by artificial bugs eating crops.

  • hehe what about the bacteria that was eating up the old space station a while back??
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "I've seen fields, Neo; vast fields, where sugar cubes are no longer manufactured... they are grown."

    Yeah, they're in Hawaii ;-P

  • Some people rely on the national enquirer as their sole news source... some people use slashdot exclusively... and other people bang their head against the wall all day long.
    It is a free country, so give the crazy people a break and let them excersize their right to ignorance =p
  • Ants love wet sugar! Imagine robotic ants? :)

  • Wouldn't "Constipated Mechanical Berserkers" be a cool name for a band?
  • Such machine exists for thousands of years. It's horse.
  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Sunday January 07, 2001 @09:22PM (#524396) Homepage Journal
    Meat runs away or fights, making it a little too challenging for the current robot. But soon, very soon, we'll work out how to design a man eating robot! Mua-ha-ha-ha-ha!

    Ok, it works a bit better if you imagine the professor from Futurama saying that...

  • I think you've stumbled upon a great advancement in space probe technology!

    Imagine an interstellar space probe able to convert sugars into electrical power. The probe would contain with it a carton of Twinkees with which to use for power when it reaches its destination. Impossible, you say? No! With a shelf life of 100 years, the Twinkees would still be fresh by the time it reached the target star system!

  • Well, based on the article, it could use oranges that have already fallen off of the trees as a fuel source. Considering that those oranges aren't shipped to consumers anyway, how is this a problem?

    Yes, if you "programmed" one of these things to eat grain or corn, then you might have a problem with 'robot-caused famines', but I doubt there's enough sugar in grain to support the fuel cycle in this type of robot.

    Now, my question is, in the case of using those oranges as fuel, has anyone considered what the short and long-term effects of the citric acid on the robot parts might be?

  • Where is the poo poo?
  • Shhhh... ,what was that?
  • Yeah, it was a really bad movie [] starring Keanu Reeves.


    Sometimes differentiating between reality and fantasy takes all my energy.
    to paraphrase Hunter S. Thompson [].

  • hmm, i see a lot of replies saying you need sun light... what about the ocean life that is really deep near the chemical vents, they have no sun light and live in harsh conditions... we should study these creatures, maybe they could become the power source.
  • I have a robot that can run on hot grits alone! The bot has its grits poured down its pants, and then it starts first posting on slashdot. THE WONDERS OF SCIENCE!
  • What if it eats too much sugar and doesn't run around? He's gonna get fat and who want's fat robots. Eating sugar, don't nothing all day...

    I blame the schools.

  • Cars already run from organic molecules, Oil is just plant matter that's been rotting for hundreds of thousands of years.

    Our machines are not the only things producing greenhouse gasses. Animals breath in O2, and breathe it out as CO2, a greenhouse gas. It would be an interesting excercise to measure the greenhouse gasses produced by a 300 horsepower car and compare those to the gasses produced by 300 running horses. It would be interesting to see which generates more greenhouse gasses.

    I'm not sure an animal-type metabolic system for energy would be any more efficient than the existing internal-comustion engine. Take our previous example, and compare how much fuel (five gallons, or around 30 pounds) it takes for our 300 horsepower car to go ~100 miles. Compare that to how much food/water you'd need for your team of 300 horses.

    -- Greg
  • Not knowing anything at all about this technology (chemistry?! biology?! latin?!) it reminds me of the "Mr. Fusion" device on the back of Doc's car in Back to the Future.

    Though the underlying mechanism is different, if this type of thing were made more efficient, wouldn't it be possible to dump a bunch of potato peelings, fat trimmings from the roast, moldy bread and apple cores into the "Mr. Garbage Disposal" on the back of your electrically-powered moped?

    I know there's a car that already runs on used fryer grease, but there are a lot of apple cores, potato peelings and bags of moldy bread out there, too...

  • by doublem ( 118724 ) on Sunday January 07, 2001 @10:15PM (#524407) Homepage Journal
    Nothing new here. Slashdot ran a story a while back about a slug hunting robot [] that is powered by digesting the slugs it catches. []
  • I can see the slogan now:

    Gastrobots: The High-Tech Vomitorium!

    Maybe that needs work ...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    "and hydrogen must be kept really cold or it blows shit up." Uhhh, no... Hydrogen does *not* need to be kept cold to avoid blowing up. It does not spontaneously explode. The biggest problem with raw Hydrogen for use with fuel cells is that it is the (or at least one of the) least dense substances. -s-
  • > ...stupid trespasser watching...

    And I though the robot would not eat meat...

  • Basically it just had a bait to atract the slugs into the battery and then every few days in would move a 2 or 3 metres into a new area in the hope that there would be more slugs there. I can't find any links - does anyone else know of this?

    Few references in chronological order...

    Life: Nov 4/98 [] Robot that slugs it out with farm pests - (near the bottom)
    Slashdot: SlugBot [] Nov '99
    Doom on wheels stalks slugs [] Nov '99
    Slug Feast [] June '00
    Robotic Slugging Match [] no date given

    Interesting that Chew Chew was reported as early as in July of last year..
    Food for Thought as Carnivorous Robot Is Born []
  • yeah and when the car came out they said it would never replace bicycles. human ingenuity produces more surprises than even it can imagine.
  • This is a wonderful first step. The limiting factor is the fact that the conversion from releasing electrons to charging a battery is a) slow and b) inefficient. What the robot is doing is essentially interupting the formation of ATP in a biological cell, and taking the electrons that would be used to charge a battery. In the near future, I would imagine that the battery can be dispensed with, and instead the "stomach" itself could be used as the battery. The concept would work something like this:

    a) when cells digest carbohydrates, they eventually transport electrons outside of the cell membrane. This can be extended to transport them outside a larger, non-ionic membrane. This creates a charge difference.

    b) A circuit could be constructed with the + end outside the cell, the - end inside, and voila, a working circuit which runs directly from the electron transport chain.

    A bit heavy in Biology/Chemistry, but there you go (I'm a chemist at heart)
  • the gastrobots have been built without the ability to defecate

    Does that mean they're full of sh*t?

    Maybe we should send them to Uranus?

    Bye bye, Karma!

  • By the way, where does it say "one cube of sugar lasts for 15 minutes" in the article? All it says is that it uses cube sugar for fuel, and "Chew Chew's sugar high lasts only 15 minutes at best"... It sounds to be more than only one cube.
  • Well, with less and less consumming electronic components (ARM, Transmeta,etc.) it could be a cool idea to have sugar powered-laptops or embedded devices.
    It would be quite useful in areas where powering (either electrical or solar) and access to the devices would be difficult.
  • ahh...

    a) a 300 hp car might do 20mpg, but a smaller engine would do more

    b) distance means nothing without comparing load or weight moved. Your 300 hp car is moving 1 person (most likely in North America these days) or about 300 lbs (most likely in North America these days) By contrast, you do not need anywhere near 300 horses to move 300 lbs 100 miles - more like 1.

    obOff-Topic: I just had the most horrible experience - as I finished the last sentence, I realized that MS Word grammar check would have flagged it, which disturbs me on 2 levels:

    1) that I have spent enough time working around MS Word "features" that I recognize MS Grammar (New-Speak) on sight

    2) the horrifying vision of the slashdot lameness filter paired with MS Grammar check.

    ... "It looks like you're posting a troll - would you like some help?"

    ... "Passive voice - try bashing Microsoft"

    ... etc...

  • This is really exciting from a technology point of view.

    ...but then I immediately thought "Oh no..a potential competitor for the world's food supply!"

    Maybe we can train these SOBs to eat plastic or trash or something?

  • 300 horses will produce a considerable amount of gases including CO2;, ammonia and methane.
    One horse, as a previous poster commented, *will* move 300 pounds 100 miles but very very slowly. It would take a couple of days, as the horse would only sustain a gallop for a short time, the rider would withstand a brisk trot for about the same amount of time (your legs get tired, or your backside gets sore) and at a walking pace would cover 100 miles in around 30 hours.
    If you want to use a petrol engine, you get less harmful emissions (up to a point) from larger, low-compression ones. At higher compression ratios (above, say, 9.5:1) the mixture burns hotter in the cylinder, and produces more nitrogen compounds, but you do get more power for a given capacity.
    I've tried it. If you use a non-catalyst equipped car, and a gas analyser (assume both engines have been tuned correctly), a 1-litre, 50hp engine produces more NOx than a 2.3-litre, 100hp engine. (1986 Nissan Micra K10 compared against 1982 Volvo 240).
    Newer, 16-valve, cat-equipped engines are worse.
  • by Snowfox ( 34467 ) <> on Monday January 08, 2001 @03:37AM (#524433) Homepage

    Stuart: Besides, meat tends to run away when possible, or fights. Either response presents behavioral challenges too complex for any existing robot so far...

    Editor: So far?

    Stuart: (evil grin) It can't catch meat... so far...

    Editor: D-do you mind if I cut that part? You promised me you were going to stop saying that!

    Stuart: (wringing hands) Yeeeeeeessss... cut that part... my robots will cut that part... MWA HA HA HA HA!!!!

  • This article has a glaring inaccuracy, stating that the engineeer was at University of Southern Florida, and not Univerversity of South Florida as is the case. I'm looking at the picture saying "That looks alot like the concrete bench I outside the ENA building I took a header off while rollerblading" when I noticed that the picture did say South Florida accross the side. Geez, my alma matter never gets any credit.

  • The Robot (Edgar) falls over in the hall, making a loud clang. It's obvious it needs more fuel. It rolls into the nearest office, and straight up to a concerned lab tech who obviously heard the noise.

    Tech: What on Earth was that, Edgar?

    Edgar: Sugar.

    Tech: I've never seen Sugar do that.

    Edgar: Give me........Sugar.

    The tech hands the Robot a bag of Domino Sugar.

    Edgar: In Cubes.

    The tech opens a drawer, and gives Edgar a cube of sugar.

    Edgar: More.

    The tech tilts the bag, giving the robot several cubes of sugar.

    Edgar: More.

    The tech tilts the bag farther, feeding a few more sugar cubes into the robot.

    Edgar: Nnggggttttthhhhh.

    The tech pours the entire contents of the sugar cube bag into the robot. The robot exits the office, probably off to capture the galaxy.

    -- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

  • by Shotgun ( 30919 ) on Monday January 08, 2001 @04:55AM (#524443)
    One step further.

    There have been a few stories on /. about new strains of bacteria that will feast on things like heavy metals and such. What's the feasibility of a machine that trawls a landfill for specific materials? Line these together in a train, each car feeding a single engine that simply pulls the train around the landfill. The train pulls into a depot where it gets to defecate valuable materials for reclaimation and deadly materials for proper disposal. The whole thing should be very low maintainance.

  • Hm, I bet the earth's entire biosphere could power a machine the size of....

    Well, the size of a planet. :-)

  • Corporate Logo: It's people that make this company work and they are our greatest asset.

    Hey! That's not a sugar cube, it's people. Oh my God, it's people. Gastrobot runs on people! It's peeeeeepollllllllll!

  • If this robot could be modified to feed on cat feces, urine and furballs, I could kill 2 birds with one stone: clean up the mess they make, and save myself a lot of nasty work. Of course if it fed on cats, my problems would be gone forever.

    Going on means going far
    Going far means returning
  • acknowledges that more oomph can be extracted from animal flesh than plant matter

    Can some biology student please explain if this is true? I dont know if I agree - wouldnt the highest energy content in food be found in something other than animal flesh? That material may not be Sugar but could it be something like peanut butter (nuts of some kind) or something else?

    I understood, one of the major arguments of vegetarians is reducing ones ecological footprint. Meaning that not eating animal flesh means that you require less area to grow enough food to sustain yourself. Ie. It takes 100 acres to grow 5 cows wich can feed 10 people for one year vs 100 acres to grow XXX bushels of corn with can feed 100 people for on year. This would seem to violate this idea by saying that you can achieve greater concentrations of 'energy' in animal flesh -- then the anology above would not be true.

    Can someone please explain...?
  • Feed it salsa, and then see if it produces methane and endures a gas leak! It would be the first robot to fart! Now there's a true leap for science!
  • Actually there's a fuck of a lot more sugar in a regular ol' Coke than any candy bar could boast. Unless it's a really _huge_ candy bar. That's how come Coke is making more diabetics than ever.

It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead