Scientists from the United States have presented a new concept of a biobot that trains itself. The new device moves 791 times faster than analogs.
Scientists have been working on the creation and improvement of biohybrid robots or biobots for several years. They are usually made up of muscle tissue and are designed to crawl, grab, and grip objects. However, the researchers note that modern biobots do not yet resemble natural creatures in terms of mobility and strength.
Researchers at the Institute of Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) have made a breakthrough in biobots using bioengineering tools. They applied 3D bioprinting and engineering design to develop biobots up to a centimeter long, capable of swimming at record speeds. They used the spontaneous contraction of materials based on muscle cells with a special skeleton.
Scientists at IBEC used biological robots based on a flexible, serpentine polymer spring that was designed and optimized through simulations and then printed. The advantage of this design is that it creates a feedback loop due to the restoring force of the spring.
“We introduced devices made up of muscle cells that move like worms or fish, respond to electrical stimuli and apply force and speed through self-training with a 3D printed soft skeleton,” says Samuel Sanchez, professor at ICREA Research at IBEC.
In addition to the ability to self-learn, the new device moves 791 times faster than its counterparts. At the same time, new biobots can perform other movements: get out on the coast and move overland for a long time. Scientists note that in the biomedical field, the ability to print such 3D muscle models using human muscles makes it possible to use such highly functional devices for medical platforms for drug testing.