Scientists create biological robots based on muscle cells





Scientific work, published in the early online version of the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” describes the details of a new generation of tiny robots that use real live muscle cells. These miniature robots are the brainchild of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and their size in length is only about 6 millimeters.

In a press release issued robot creators explain that these tiny machines are made of flexible and printed on the 3D-printer hydrogel, as well as live skeletal muscle cells, so they may well be called the bio-robots.

As to the shape and design of these robots, it is surprisingly very simple. Nevertheless, scientists Illinois University say that all these connecting parts have the same robot work (or at least the same manner), as it happens in real nature. The point is that in a cavity inside the 3D-printed framework of hydrogel (resembles the shape of the letter “P”) placed the living muscle fibers which, when compressed, and allows the robot to move unclamping in space. To work the same muscles themselves using an electrical pulse.

From the words of the scientists behind this research project, the higher the frequency of electrical pulses, the more muscles begin to shrink biorobots and the faster they begin to move, as you can see it with the video below.

It should be noted that the research work associated with these bio-robots, began in 2012. Initially, the researchers used as motor material heart muscle cells. However, later it was found that skeletal muscle cells much easier to manage.

“The cells of skeletal muscle very interesting for us, because you can control them by external signals. To build cybernetic devices that would react to chemical or any other specific signals, skeletal muscle cells fit best, “- explains study leader Rashid Bashir.

Scientists plan to continue its work and is currently looking for a way that would more efficiently and accurately manage the bio-robots. According to scientists, the answer may lie in the integration of neurons in the car. From the words of the researchers, this technology in the future may have potential, which will create biological machines that will not need to use traditional power plants.

“Just imagine what a similar system in the future will grow into a new generation of biological machines that can raise the level of technology in the delivery of drugs, surgery, implants or compact environmental analyzers” – sums up the research project specialist Caroline Kvetkovich.

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