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CORDIS

The new science and technology of edible robots and robotic food for humans and animals

Project description

Robots on the menu

Food and robotics have completely different constraints and properties. So, what happens when you try to marry the two? This is exactly what the EU-funded ROBOFOOD project aims to do. For the very first time, the project will create robots that can be eaten and foods that behave like robots. It will draw upon soft robotic principles and advanced food processing methods to help open the door for a new design space for edible robots and robotic food and test it with proof-of-concept technologies for animal preservation, human rescue and human nutrition. These robots could one day be used to help humans and animals in emergency situations.

Objective

Ordering your pizza and having it delivered in a few minutes by a drone? That could soon be routine. But what about having the drone itself for dessert, instead of sending it back? That would be entirely new technological territory with applications far beyond take-away meals. By combining food science and robotic science in a radically new way, the ROBOFOOD project will for the first time create robots that can be eaten and foods that behave like robots. Such edible robots could deliver lifesaving
nutrition to humans in emergency situation; they could supply vaccines and supplements to endangered animal
species; robotic food with edible actuators and electronics, on the other hand, could tell us when it is well preserved and safe to eat; it could protect itself from excessive heat or humidity during storage; it could facilitate swallowing for neurologic patients, and interact with humans and animals in totally new ways, to address dietary goals or influence eating habits. These goals require an interdisciplinary investigation into the principles of robotics and food science, which have very different and contrasting properties. Traditional robots are inorganic systems that perceive the environment and perform actions. Food instead is mostly organic material that can be digested and metabolized to support life. We will use soft robotic principles and advanced food processing methods to establish a common ground, and pave the way towards a new design space for edible robots and robotic food. We will validate it with proof-of-concept technologies for animal preservation, human rescue, human nutrition. The project is profoundly interdisciplinary, merging two fields that have hardly ever interacted before and pushing them well beyond the state of the art; its ambitious science-based technological breakthroughs have the potential to address environmental and health problems, and also The new science and technology of edible robots and robotic food for humans and animals

Keywords

Call for proposal

H2020-FETOPEN-2018-2020

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Sub call

H2020-FETOPEN-2018-2019-2020-01

Coordinator

ECOLE POLYTECHNIQUE FEDERALE DE LAUSANNE
Net EU contribution
€ 1 281 250,00
Address
BATIMENT CE 3316 STATION 1
1015 Lausanne
Switzerland

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Region
Schweiz/Suisse/Svizzera Région lémanique Vaud
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Total cost
€ 1 281 250,00

Participants (3)