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. alif2016, ALIFE 2016, the Fifteenth International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems626-633, (July 4–6, 2016) doi: 10.1162/978-0-262-33936-0-ch099
Liquid handling robots are rarely used in the domain of artificial life. In this field, transitory behaviours of non-equilibrium man-made systems are studied and need an automatic monitoring and logging of results. In addition, artificial life experiments are dynamic with frequent changes, which makes it difficult to apply conventional liquid handling robots as they are designed to automate a pre-defined task. In order to address these issues, we have developed an open source liquid handling robot, EvoBot. It uses a modular approach, which gives us the possibility to reconfigure the robot for different experiments and make it possible for users to add functionality by just developing a function specific module. In addition, it provides sensors and extra functionality for monitoring an experiment, which allows researchers to perform interactive experiments with the aim of prolonging non- equilibrium conditions. In this paper, we describe the modular design of EvoBot, document its performance, and provide a novel example of an interactive experiment in artificial life, where the robot nurtures a microbial fuel cell based on its voltage output.