Researchers at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), one of the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology, have developed a robot that can be eaten. The prototype of the edible robot was presented at the recently concluded International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems held in Canada.
The edible robot is made of mix gelatin, glycerin, and water that is poured into a mold. All of the robot’s parts, including the sensors and batteries, are edible. The robot is capable of holding different types of objects, such as a boiled egg, an apple, a Lego brick, and an orange.
“The components of such edible robots could be mixed with nutrient or pharmaceutical components for digestion and metabolization,” the researchers explained in their paper. “Potential applications are disposable robots for exploration, digestible robots for medical purposes in humans and animals, and food transportation where the robot does not require additional payload because the robot is the food.”
The researchers, particularly, envisioned these edible robots to play a role in healing inside of the human body, as well as in the preservation of wild animals.
The researchers cited a rescue scenario where the edible robots can reach survivors trapped a crevice or up in the mountain. These rescue robots can be the survivors’ food. Another scenario envisioned by the researchers is the possibility of edible robots to be used to study how wild animals collectively behave. The robots, in this case, can take the role of a prey.