Workshop: Caravel with Ivan Henriques

Using autonomous robots to clean our poluted waters

15 Dec 2016

Caravels are autonomous waterrobots that feed on the micro-organisms living in local waters. By harvesting electricity from anaerobic bacteria and organic components (via Microbial Fuel Cell technology) they not only provide themselves with the necessary energy to keep in motion, but they also purify poluted water. During this workshop you will team up with artist Ivan Henrique to investigate the potential of these swarming waterrobots.

This program is part of Regeneration - Biotalk, a collaboration between Transnatural and Mediamatic.

Tickets / Facebook


15-12-2016 Regeneration Biotalk - Caraval - Caravel uses Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) technology to harvest electricity from anaerobic bacteria and organic components in the water. The hexagonal form has the function to exactly match and join other Caravels to create a bigger surface and operate as a swarm. Ivan Henriques

What will you do

Together with artist Ivan Henriques we will explore the potential of these selfsupporting robots. Participants are invited to interact with and reflect upon the topic of technology and living systems. After an introduction to robotic technology, participants will go outdoors to explore the possibilities of harvesting energy and revitalising the environment.
The 3-4 hour workshop further explores the topics of self-sufficiency, autonomy, interspecies communication and environmental swarm robotics.


LAGOINHA DAS TAXAS, RIO DE JANEIRO - Poluted water in Rio de Janeiro Ivan Henriques

To evolve with the project Symbiotic Machine, Caravel is created. In collaboration with the scientists of Faculty of Bio-Engineering - Ghent University, Ivan Henriques developed a floating mobile robotic structure which harvests and stores it’s energy from Microbial Fuel Cells (MFC). MFC’s, are devices that use bacteria in waste water as the catalyst to oxidise organic matter and generate electricity. The energy harvested from the MFC’s is applied to move the robotic structure and at the same time to clean the polluted environment with the help of water-purifying plants integrated in the structure. Caravel has a hexagonal form to exactly match and join other Caravels to operate as a swarm. Caravel has a big hexagonal frame, consisting a set of smaller hexagons and trapezoids. Inside the trapezoids, the plants are in a controlled system which will prevent them to proliferate in the whole water surface, and at the same time help in the filtering together with the MFC. Caravel operate as a colony of filter-bio-machines to inhabit our environment to clean, purify water and at the same time harvest its own energy while slowly drifting through remote areas and polluted waters in cities.



Ivan Henrique

Following his previous research into self sufficient cleansing robots (Symbiotic Machine) Ivan developed a new type of electronic 'organism' that feeds and fuels itself. By doing so he explores hybrids between nature and (technological) culture, creating new forms of communication between humans and other living organisms.

Workhop: Caravel with Ivan Henriques
Thursday 15 December
14:00 - 18:00
Tickets: €25,- via this link

This program is part of Regeneration - Biotalk, a collaboration between Transnatural and Mediamatic, following the exhibition Regeneration which is currently on display at Transnatural Amsterdam.