Robot vacuum cleaners a great little gizmos... until they need to charge themselves. True, they're intelligent enough these days to head to their charging station, but wouldn't be awesome if it could use the bacteria it sucks up as an energy source? Yes, now that sounds like the future.
Enter the "Limbo", a concept robot vacuum cleaner conjured up by industrial designer Elliot Cohen for US cleaning company Casabella's 25th anniversary. The Limbo made its debut at this year's International Housewares Show in Chicago.
What separates the Limbo from the likes of a Roomba -- other than that fact it looks like a future rover design NASA might send to explore Titan -- is its use of "microbial electrolysis" to generate power from the bacteria it sucks up.
I'm not going to pretend to know the finer details of the process, but what it essentially involves is bacteria consuming sugar, which causes them to release electrons and protons that can be captured and used to power the cleaner (check out the image to the right for more details).
Sadly, it is but a concept and while the science is sound, it's hard to know how efficient the power generation process would be. I guess it depends on how much of a dump your place is.
Images: Elliot Cohen