Robots With Muscles Controlled By Electricity

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Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have built a robot using three dimensional printed components along with living muscle tissue that they call a bio-bot. They used mouse muscle tissue cells, and a small device less than a quarter inch long that is flexible, but still gives the bio-bot a certain structure.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have built a robot using three dimensional printed components along with living muscle tissue that they call a bio-bot.

They used mouse muscle tissue cells, and a small device less than a quarter inch long that is flexible, but still gives the bio-bot a certain structure.

The muscle cell movement is controlled by an electrical pulse, which also regulates the speed of the bio-bot.

Higher frequencies make it move faster, reaching speeds of up to one and a half body lengths per second.

Study leader Rashid Bashir, Abel Bliss Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering & Bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is quoted as saying: "We're trying to integrate these principles of engineering with biology in a way that can be used to design and develop biological machines and systems for environmental and medical applications."

According to graduate student Caroline Cvetkovic, co-author of the paper, some of the potential future uses for the technology are drug delivery systems, robotic surgery, mobile environmental analysis, and computerized medical implants.

The next step for the researchers is to figure out how to get even more control over the movement of the bio-bot through the use of light or chemical gradients, and a 3D printed hydrogel backbone.

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