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Biotech Medicine Robotics Science

Researchers Create Walking, Muscle-Powered Biobots 33

Zothecula writes If you're going to deploy robots in biological settings – for example, inside the body – it makes a lot of sense to build those robots out of actual biological body parts. Muscle, for example, is a very effective, biodegradable replacement for an electric actuator that can run in a nutrient-rich fluid without the need for any other power source. Bio-robotics experts in Illinois have demonstrated a bio-bot built from 3-D printed hydrogel and spinal muscle tissue that can "walk" in response to an electrical signal. Their next step will be trying to incorporate neurons that can get the bot walking in different directions when faced with different stimuli.
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Researchers Create Walking, Muscle-Powered Biobots

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  • They say if you could design a biobot that identifies cells as one type or the other, you could design custom antibodies, or even something that targets cancer.

    The road is a long road though. First you need some sort of standard cell that won't be owned by the body's immune response, and apparently these guys use stuff from your own body? Then you need to figure a way to put some computing in it. Then you need to program its receptors to detect what it interacts with. You need to make enough of them t
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Friday July 04, 2014 @01:37AM (#47381759) Homepage

    It's another materials article. They do not have a "walking robot". They have one piece of synthetic muscle fiber hooked up to some supports. If they hook up an oscillator to the power, it jerks along. There are other artificial muscle technologies. [] This new one is supposedly powered by the chemical solution in which it operates, not by the electric field that triggers it. That's new. But if it's chemically powered, there must be waste products from the reaction that have to be flushed out. You need a whole circulatory system for the thing.

    • hmmm,,,let's look around, were to find such a thing...hey, I just found almost 7 billion walking "nutrient chemical solution recycling systems" just walking around! Engage VAMPIRE mode for more power! Really though, this thing could use blood straight from "the tap"...vampire robots! great idea! Hey, I think that might be a "new idea" that hasn't been made into a movie or such...
      • Presumably it would eat our food rather than us. "Hey, who ate all the chocolate chip cookies?" "sorry-master-need-more-power"
      • Seems like one could use this type of engineered muscle to power an electrical generator which would either recharge a battery or power an electronic device directly. Then you'd have an implanted electronic device which never needed to have its battery changed or recharged using external means.

        If it burned enough calories, maybe it could even be sold for cosmetic reasons - eat all you want, and transfer the surplus charge from your implanted battery to an outside system via induction.

        There isn't exactly a s

    • The hard part is always inventing the building blocks. Once you have those, there's a billions brains eager to build with whatever blocks you give them.

      Actually, I may have gone too conservative there. The hard part is the prototype of the building blocks. Once the prototype works, you can release the knowledge in the human mind soup and it will reproduce and evolve on its own.

      I wouldn't dare say it all rests on an idea, because I believe the ratio prototype:result to be close to 1:1 while idea:result falls

      • by phayes ( 202222 )

        Your blanket statement "The hard part is always inventing the building blocks" is clearly false as often the hardest part is in the choice & integration of the building blocks. The F35 is a shining example where just about every building block has been available for a decade (or even many multiples of same), yet it is the integration and fine tuning that are the hardest parts. Many, many other examples come to mind: Nuclear fusion power plants, carrier aviation, large federal IT projects, etc.


    • No, this bio-robot, a hybrid cyborg construct made from genetically engineered muscle tissue and 3-D printed materials, does not truly walk as such. It does, however, whisper "kill me! kill meeee!!!!" late at night in the lab when the lights are turned out.
  • Personally, I welcome our flexible new overlords!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Yesterday we invented trees [] and now we invent people.

    Time to invent a snake.

  • by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Friday July 04, 2014 @03:21AM (#47381979)

    It's alive.. it's alive. It's alive, it's alive. IT'S ALIVE!

  • Starring Arnold Schwarzeberger
  • ... has big plans for this technology...

  • How are they powering this muscle?

"We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company."