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Mosquito powered robot to fight malaria

Grind mosquitos and pour bacteria over them
  (+8, -2)
(+8, -2)
  [vote for,

1. Microbial fuel cells work by feeding glucose to bacteria.

2. A robot based on these cells exists that eats the glucose-containing chitin of flies to power itself [link]. Chitin is the exoskeleton found in most flying insects.

3. Now make the connection: attract mosquitos, tse tse flies, and other disease-causing bugs to the bot and slaughter them. The good thing, these insects not only contain chitin, they are blood-suckers, and blood contains lots of glucose, exactly the fuel we need for our robot.

4. The bot's fly and mosquito attracting mechanism can be based on a simple chemical that attracts the bugs.

5. Now comes the fun part: these microbial fuel cells generate enough power to actually move the robot and to power its beast-sucking pump. [The actual bot moved for 5 days in a row on a mere 8 flies. And all this at an impressive speed of 10 centimeters per hour; this is 2.4 meters per day; or in other words: 876 meters per year!!! A swarm of the bots can guard an entire village and its surroundings.]

6. We must succeed in using this excess electricity to power a sensor that actually recognizes the sound emitted by a particular bug (say a tse tse fly: it has its own frequency).

So: on the one hand, the animal devouring robot attracts the deadly insects, while at the same time it moves around to sites where there are many of them.

All the while, it destructs massive heaps of the animals!!! And the more it annihilates, the more power to it!!

These fuel cells are extremely cheap, so our self-sustaining robot should be so as well. We can distribute millions of swarms to them to villages in Africa.

Replace one swarm with another!

No enemy bug escapes the perpetual flying flesh destructor!!

django, Sep 06 2007

Fly powered robot http://www.newscien...article/dn6366.html
Fly and you will die!! [django, Sep 06 2007]

http://www.amonline...sheets/canetoad.htm I wonder whether a robot could lure and kill these. [pertinax, Sep 07 2007]

Bat Boxes http://www.bestnest...gleaws&kw=bat_boxes
"Did you know ... that one small brown bat can eat up to 1,200 mosquitoes in a single hour! " [Klaatu, May 04 2008]


       Cool article.   

       I suggest basing the robot on the characteristics of a frog.   

       <boring>If you've built a sort of intelligent electronic Venus Flytrap or Pitcher Plant, why would it need to move around at all?</boring>   

       <hopeful>I wonder if this could scale up to catch cane toads?</hopeful>   

       //I suggest basing the robot on the characteristics of a frog.//   

       Come to think of it, cane toads eat smaller frogs (and anything else they can catch), so we should build a robot that looks like a small frog (and eats mozzies) but is also capable of devouring bufo marinus *from the inside*! Cue the hand-dryers.
pertinax, Sep 07 2007

       Much more efficient, methinks, to modify existing organisms to do this. Here´s the plan.   

       1) People have tried, with varying success, to use ¨decoy¨ organisms. For example, you sterilize a large number of female flies, release them, and they compete with the healthy females for mates. The result is a population crash, but only for a while, and only to an extent dependent on the number of sterilized insects you release.   

       2) What is needed is to introduce a genetic time-bomb into the population instead. Give it time to spread, then trigger it.   

       3) For example, suppose that every few years there is unusually harsh weather, and that insects survive this by virtue of a protective protein (such things are commonly known, in one form or another).   

       4) So, adopt a program of releasing individuals which have a defective cryoprotective gene. Make sure they are well-fed, healthy and happy, and are released in large numbers at the optimal time of year. In time, you´d introduce the defective protein (hopefully homozygously; or pick a gene on a sex chromosome) into most of the poulation   

       5) Next time there´s an unusually cold winter, the population will be nearly wiped out.   

       6) Lots of similar schemes are possible - the general idea is to introduce gradually a weakness which is only revealed once it has had a chance to spread.
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 08 2007

       No need for robots. Use ostriches, they will clean up all of your nasty mosquitos, and I believe that someone once said that a team of fifty full grown ostriches will produce around one thousand horsepower. So if you harnessed them into power generating carts carrying batteries, they could roam the streets during the night, eating up all the nasty creepy crawlies, then during the day when they come home to roost, you simply connect the cart battery to power all of your household appliances. Environmentally friendly and insect reducing. All good.
the dog's breakfast, Sep 08 2007

       // fifty full grown ostriches will produce around one thousand horsepower// So, one ostrich can out-pull twenty horses?
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 09 2007

       I've read a few articles that actually promote the use of indoor spraying of DDT to curb Malaria.   

       The original studies linking DDT to cancer and bone marrow loss are now proven to be false, and limiting the use of the pesticide to the indoors limits it's potential for runoff. The only thing blocking it's use is the residual fear people have of DDT from it's earlier banning, which means foreign governments won't financially support it's use in poorer malaria infested countries. Coupled with bed nets, DDT would kick malaria right in the junk.   

       Also, it sounds a lot cheaper than robots. Even though this idea is awesome.
notmarkflynn, Sep 09 2007

       There's another problem, some animals need said "creepy crawlies" to survive. He you take not all the bugs, those bug-reliant animals will die, causing their predators to did, etc, etc. You could kill a whole done again like that
whizzentag, May 01 2008

       //some animals need said "creepy crawlies" to survive// Note that this robot is meant to discriminate (by sound) between disease-carrying species and other "creepy crawlies". So, unless, for some reason, the natural predators can't switch to, say, house-flies instead, then the robots won't bring down the whole food web.
pertinax, May 04 2008

       Very smart, but surely any idea designed to arbitrarily seek and destroy a whole species is a bad idea, regardless of the clear immediate human benefits? The road to hell is paved with microbial fuel cells.   

       However, I would like to see these robots from the future featuring in the next Terminator film. As Arnie slows down, a robot which chases him at a speed of 2.4 meters per day might be very useful. It would give him a chance to deliver a bit of meaningful dialogue, too.
Fishrat, May 04 2008


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