In this paper we present EvoBot, a RepRap open-source 3D-printer modified to operate like a robot for culturing and maintaining Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs). EvoBot is a modular liquid handling robot that has been adapted to host MFCs in its experimental layer, gather data from the MFCs and react on the set thresholds based on a feedback loop. This type of robot-MFC interaction, based on the feedback loop mechanism, will enable us to study further the adaptability and stability of these systems. To date, EvoBot has automated the nurturing process of MFCs with the aim of controlling liquid delivery, which is akin to a chemostat. The chemostat is a well-known microbiology method for culturing bacterial cells under controlled conditions with continuous nutrient supply. EvoBot is perhaps the first pioneering attempt at functionalizing the 3D printing technology by combining it with the chemostat methods. In this paper, we will explore the experiments that EvoBot has carried out so far and how the platform has been optimised over the past two years.
Title of host publication
Proceedings of the 6th International Conference Living Machines 2017 : Lecture Notes in Computer Science