The electricity-producing robot that wants your urine … and possibly your job

The robots may make work easier, but at what expense?

August 26th, 2014 1:41 pm| by admin
facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

A team of scientists at the IT University of Copenhagen have developed a model for a robot that will help them convert urine into 'micro-biological fuel cells', which can ultimately be turned into electricity.

The main purpose of the robot named EVOBOT is to conduct repeat experiments that prove initial findings to be consistently accurate – a time-consuming process that often inhibits scientists from progressing at the speed they would like to.

Robots taking jobs?
There is no doubt that eliminating some of the mindless legwork will be beneficial to these scientists and their project, but it raises an interesting question about the role of robots in the workplace and their potential to take jobs away from human beings.

Beyond the realm of science too, robots pose a serious threat to workers around the globe. Many industries have already seen radical changes and layoffs due to advances in technology that made human jobs redundant or economically unfeasible.

Far from a concern
EVOBOT represents a cheap and easy alternative to lab technicians with regard to repeat experiments, and thus could certainly be perceived as a threat, but Susanne Bahne Hansen, the president of the Danish Association of Laboratory Technicians, does not seem concerned.

“So far the Danish Association of Laboratory Technicians has not found that robots and automations in labs have affected the number of jobs within the profession. Far from it,” she told Science Nordic.

Optimistic about change
She submits that robots may change the type of work lab technicians will be required to do, but remains optimistic about their impact. 

“First and foremost, I regard the robots in the lab as a considerable aid for the lab technicians. They can help eliminate some of the work that causes strain injuries," she continued. 

International collaboration
If all goes according to plan, EVOBOT will be sent to scientists at the University of Bristol in England – who originally came up with the concept of converting urine into energy – where they will utilise it to further their research.

The cement factory will be located some 400 km away from Algiers (photo: FLSmidth)
FLSmidth hauls in lucrative Algerian order
The Danish engineering company FLSmidth has signed a lucrative EPC (enginee...
Al Zubarah is a UNESCO-protected merchant town dating back to the mid-18th century (photo: Aurel Cuvin)
Archaeological project in Qatar halted
A large-scale archaeological co-operation between the University of Copenha...
Caroline Woniacki to hoist Dannebro high in Rio (photo: DIF)
Wozzy to carry Denmark’s flag in Rio
When the Danish Olympic team takes centre stage at the opening ceremony of ...
Germany is Denmark's largest export market (photo: Ekelon)
Government launches new strategy for Germany
The foreign minister, Kristin Jensen, has revealed a new strategy (here in ...
The Islands Brygge harbour baths are a popular location for swimming, both in the summer and winter (photo: cjreddaway)
Deer rescued from harbour baths in Islands Brygge
The emergency services in Copenhagen have today rescued a deer that had fal...
Hourly-paid workers won't be affected by the lay-offs (photo: iStock)
Arla to lay off 500 employees
Arla Group has announced plans to downsize up to 500 employees, reports DR....