EcoBot III

The EcoBot-III is a self-sustaining robot with onboard fluid circulation, able to excrete its own waste. Also known as the BREADbot (Bio-Regulation and Energy-Autonomy with Digestion), the project was designed by researchers at the University of Bristol’s Robotics Laboratory. The researchers prototyped a lightweight yet strong design with a low-power electronic circuitry, powered by Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs). The key feature that gives the EcoBot III its name is its ingestion/digestion/egestion mechanism, which allows for artificially recreated digestion of consumed food and water to lead to solid waste excretion. Waste sludge and water circulate onboard utilizing the MFC’s power, collected in an overflow compartment to be fed back into the ingestion vessel. The EcoBot III caught the attention of NASA, which is looking to utilize such robots in the breaking down of human feces in future space missions. A fourth generation of the EcoBot is in development, looking to improve upon EcoBot III by shrinking it in size, as the EcoBot III is too large to allow a sufficiently flexible and wide mobility range. Researchers are also aiming to generate more power from future EcoBot’s waste and MFCs.


Ieropoulos, I., Greenman, J., Melhuish, C., & Horsfield, I. (2010, August). EcoBot-III-A Robot with Guts. In ALIFE (Vol. 733, p. e40).


See also:


Ieropoulos, I. (2016, May 12). EcoBot III. Retrieved from


Artificial Life, Industry/Natural Commodities, Internet of Things, Pollution