Ioannis A. Ieropoulos

Research Associate

Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences
University of the West of England, Bristol
Coldharbour Lane, Bristol BS16 1QY
+44 117 3283530
+44 117 3283960



Research Interests

My PhD research focuses on the autonomy aspects of artificial agents in terms of energy. It is the main objective of my thesis to design, simulate and construct an energetically autonomous artificial agent, capable of maintaining itself in a viable state for prolonged periods. This implies building complex control architectures and designing action selection mechanisms that will allow the agent to exhibit a stable behaviour in a specific environment thus avoiding to cross its lethal limits. The work, which is code-named EcoBot, involves extensive investigation of the Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) technology as the sole self- sustained power source for the artificial agent.

This is a multi-disciplinary work involving several people from both the IAS Lab and the Faculty of Applied Sciences (FAS) of our University. The research team comprising Prof. C. Melhuish, Prof. John Greenman, Ian Horsfield, Kevin Bartholomew and myself up to now have managed to finish the first stage of this study, which involved the construction of a proof-of-concept robot. This EcoBot prototype is an  energetically autonomous artificial agent, performing photo-taxis, powered only by an onboard bank of MFCs. It was a feasibility study to find out whether certain barriers such as size and weight can be overcome, to obtain high electrical power output levels from small and light-weight MFCs. Shown below in Figure 1 is a picture of the EcoBot prototype next to a cone-flask containing sugar dissolved in water. Click the image for a larger high quality version. Figure 2 is a frame from a short 2.01MB video clip of EcoBot performing photo-taxis. Click the frame to watch the robot in action.


Figure 1. Picture of the EcoBot prototype with MFCs onboard.


Figure 2. EcoBot performing photo-taxis. Marks behind it indicate route of photo-tactic behaviour.


The E P I S T I T O

As part of the ongoing work, we have managed to construct our own microbiology wet-lab, in the IAS area in DuPont. The lab, which is called 'The Epistito', has its own facilities for microbiological work as far as the MFC work is concerned, but still operating under the supervision of the FAS. This broadens the scientific boundaries within which our IAS lab is operating. Below is a front-view picture of the lab.


Figure 3. The 'Epistito' wet-lab.


 If you are interested in finding out more detail about this research project, please follow the Energetic Autonomy link.



I received my Higher National Diploma (HND) in 1998 from the Frederick Institute of Technology, Nicosia, Cyprus. In 2000, I received my Bachelor's degree (B.Eng (Hons)) from UWE in Electrical and Electronic Engineering and then moved on to do my M.Sc at Bristol University in Communication Systems and Signal Processing which was successfully completed in October 2001.



Ieropoulos, I., Greenman, J., Melhuish, C. (2003a): 'Imitating Metabolism: Energy Autonomy in Biologically Inspired Robotics', in Proceedings of the AISB '03, Second International Symposium on Imitation in Animals and Artifacts, SSAISB, Aberystwyth, Wales, pp 191-4.

Ioannis Ieropoulos, Chris Melhuish and John Greenman (2003b): 'Artificial Metabolism: Towards True Energetic Autonomy in Artificial Life', Proceedings of the 7th European Conference in Artificial Life (ECAL 2003), Dortmund, Germany, pp 792-9.

Ioannis Ieropoulos, Chris Melhuish and John Greenman (2004): 'Energetically Autonomous Robots', Proceedings of the 8th Intelligent Autonomous Systems Conference (IAS-8), Amsterdam, The Netherlands, pp 128-35.

Ieropoulos, I., Greenman, J., Melhuish, C. and Hart, J. (2005) Comparison of three different types of microbial fuel cell. J. Enzyme and Microbial Technology, 37(2):238-245.


Ieropoulos, I., Greenman, J., Melhuish, C. and Hart, J. 2005. Energy accumulation and improved performance in microbial fuel cells. J. Power Sources, 145(2):253-256.


Ieropoulos, I., Melhuish, C., Greenman, J. and Horsfield, I. 2005. Artificial symbiosis: Towards a robot-microbe partnership. Proceedings of Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems (TAROS '05) Conference.