Power of the Mud: designing an open-source microbial fuel cell for art, design and creative technology
Dr. Paul Granjon is a robotic art practitioner with a keen environmental agenda. In 2016 he started a collaboration with bio-engineer Michka Melo, exploring the potential of microbial fuel cells (MFCs) as a sustainable power source for robotic artworks. Sometimes described as “mud batteries”, MFCs generate power by harvesting the small electric current generated by the bacteria present in most soils. They are mostly used in wastewater treatment or remote sensing applications such as environmental monitoring. Paul has applied MFC's potential for green power generation in the Mudbots robotic art installation commissioned for a robotic art exhibition in Azkuna Zentroa in Bilbao, Spain. He recently got a Getting Started small grant from CSAD for developing the research further. The overall aim is to create and disseminate a simple open-source design for MFCs and related harvesting circuitry to be used by artists, educators and other creative audiences. The talk will cover Paul's work with microbial fuel cells and how this relates to his visual-art practice.