Monday, June 30, 2014

Muscle-powered bio-bots walk on command | News Bureau | University of Illinois

Muscle-powered bio-bots walk on command | News Bureau | University of Illinois: The new bio-bots are powered by a strip of skeletal muscle cells that can be triggered by an electric pulse...

“Skeletal muscles cells are very attractive because you can pace them using external signals,” Bashir said. “For example, you would use skeletal muscle when designing a device that you wanted to start functioning when it senses a chemical or when it received a certain signal. To us, it’s part of a design toolbox. We want to have different options that could be used by engineers to design these things.”

The design is inspired by the muscle-tendon-bone complex found in nature. There is a backbone of 3-D printed hydrogel, strong enough to give the bio-bot structure but flexible enough to bend like a joint. Two posts serve to anchor a strip of muscle to the backbone, like tendons attach muscle to bone, but the posts also act as feet for the bio-bot.


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