Stingray-inspired soft biobot

January 12, 2018, University of California, Los Angeles
Artist’s concept of a stingray soft robot. Credit: University of California, Los Angeles

UCLA bioengineering professor Ali Khademhosseini has led the development of a tissue-based soft robot that mimics the biomechanics of a stingray. The new technology could lead to advances in bio-inspired robotics, regenerative medicine and medical diagnostics.

The study was published in Advanced Materials.

The simple body design of stingrays, specifically, a flattened body shape and side fins that start at the head and end at the base of their tail, makes them ideal to model bio-electromechanical systems on.

The 10-millimeter long robot is made up of four layers: tissue composed of live heart cells, two distinct types of specialized biomaterials for structural support, and flexible electrodes. Imitating nature, the robotic stingray is even able to "flap" its fins when the electrodes contract the heart cells on the biomaterial scaffold.

"The development of such bioinspired systems could enable future robotics that contain both biological tissues and electronic systems," Khademhosseini said. "This advancement could be used for medical therapies such as personalized tissue patches to strengthen cardiac muscle for ."

Bio-inspired soft robot. Credit: UCLA Engineering

Explore further: Tiny soft robot stingray propelled by rat heart cells is guided by light

More information: Electrically Driven Microengineered Bioinspired Soft Robots, DOI: 10.1002/adma.201704189 , http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/adma.201704189/full

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Blair_Lawrence
not rated yet Jan 13, 2018
Intensely interesting! Please provide more details of the research and product construct. Did you use CRISPER/Cas9 to engineer the tissue? If so, what was the process and why was a specific process adopted? If not, what gene editing process was used? What errors challenged the project? What mechanisms were used do bridge organic tissues to inorganic electrical devices? What bridges failed and why? How was the bridge constructed? If CRISPER/Cas9 was used what specific genes and segments of the genome were targeted to generate tissue composites and ultimately the shape of the product? Can you also provide details of the knockout designs used?

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