3D-printed Biological Robots Will Get Sensor-Like Qualities (+VIDEO)
Researches from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a 3D-printed robot that uses heart cells of rats to walk. These small biological robots, dubbed ‘bio-bots’ are about seven millimeters long. Powered by a form of liquid food, the heart cells beat and work to make the bio-bot move forward at roughly 236 micrometers per second. The team hopes in the near future to control the robot’s movements by adding neurons; cells that respond to specific chemicals could also provide the bio-bots with sensor-like qualities. Rashid Bashir, a professor of engineering and director of the Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory reports, “our goal is to see if we can get this thing to move toward chemical gradients, so we could eventually design something that can look for a specific toxin and then try to neutralize it. Now you can think about a sensor that’s moving and constantly sampling and doing something useful, in medicine and the environment.” Rapid-prototyping their designs on a 3D printer was instrumental in engineering faster bio-bots, and researches are already upon the look of shapes with multiple legs, which could help robots climb.