Solar Robotics?

I would like to thank Dave Hrynkiw at Solarbotics Ltd for his help in preparing this chapter.

Over the past century, we have seen a relentless march toward a world of automation and ease.

Ever since the industrial revolution, increases in efficiency have been made by using automatic devices and robots to take over the menial tasks of man.

As a result, we have given ourselves over to the machine, and our modern world is dependent upon the functioning of these devices for our continued development and growth.

This presents us with a little bit of a dilemma.

The machines and automation of the industrial
revolution were fueled by coal. More recently, oil,

natural gas, and other fossil fuels have powered the wheels of industry and automation. While automa­tion requires less human input, it does require energy.

Thus we have enslaved ourselves to previously plentiful fossil fuel energy, and created a world which would be much changed without it.

In the field of energy and robotics, we could then go on to say that if we want to push the boundaries of what we know, into the deep uncharted realms of space, exploring other planets (Figure 16-1)

(or closer to home, remote inaccessible areas like the sea), we need to provide energy for these dis­tant ventures—this is hard with conventional means.

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The Spirit Rover which was sent to Mars, was equipped with a 140 W array.

We see the increasing penetration of robots into our households—Roomba and Scooba are household names and represent readily available domestic robots. However, at present, service robots need clumsy recharging stations. What if your domestic robots could roam freely around your house powered by nothing more than the sun shining through your window, and the ambient light in your rooms?

Updated: August 19, 2015 — 3:26 pm