The name “Chew-Chew” could refer to a dog, or its habit, or a restaurant, or a joke about what people do with their food. But in some circles, Chew-Chew is a robot. Built almost a decade ago, Chew-Chew is the world’s first food powered robot or Gastrobot. For now it only eats sugar cubes. And if we believe that robots are intelligent creatures then it makes sense that rather than suffer through a meal, it just goes for dessert. Wouldn’t we all eat just dessert if we thought we could get away with it?
So why a robot that eats? Well, in our digital age, even as we become more hooked to our technology with a plethora of apps to get us through the day, we remain slaves to our power supply. Nothing goes very far or very long without needing to be plugged into a power source. And such need limits all of us but especially robots that want to roam freely on the landscape of earth and beyond. The path to robot freedom lies in its ability to live off the landscape, eating bugs and weeds to power itself with some form of food.
It could be said that as goes robotics so goes the rest of the technological world because we could suddenly wind up with food powered electronics. Imagine taking your smart phone to a restaurant for its meal. But then again makers of portable charging devices need have no fear because there is no imminent threat that gastrobotic technology is about to overtake us.
The engineers have been at this for almost a decade and there isn’t much happening outside of the various science labs where they’re developing the idea. But one day it very well could come to pass that food powered robots are as ubiquitous as cell phones.
Watch the Big Dog robot here
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