US scientists have created a 3D printed robot fitted with muscle tissue which allows it to move, at a speed of around 1.5 body lengths per minute, when an electric current is applied.
The researchers say they hope biological robotics, like the one pictured right, will be used to improve medical implants in the future.
Caroline Cvetkovic of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and colleagues write in the journal PNAS that cell-based soft robotic devices could be used for machines and systems which can dynamically sense and respond to a range of complex signals.
The researchers write:
“Combining biological components, such as cells and tissues, with soft robotics can enable the fabrication of biological machines with the ability to sense, process signals, and produce force.”
In the experiment, the researchers used mouse muscles cells on a device about 6 millimetres across.
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