Researchers formulate 'muscle-powered' bio-bots

Researchers formulate 'muscle-powered' bio-bots

"Bio-bots" have been developed by researchers from the University of Illinois. Theses are very unique as they are powered by muscle cells and controlled with electrical pulses and can simple "walk on their own".

Rashid Bashir, lead researcher, explained the mechanism involved in the bio-bots. He said that the concept to be kept in mind is that biological actuation driven by cells is a fundamental need for any kind of biological machine to operate. Integrating principles of engineering with biology is the whole idea behind this concept.

The bio-bots was powered by beating heart cells from rats that constantly contract making it hard for the bio-bot to turn on and off or sped up or slow down. The whole design is inspired by the muscle-tendon-bone complex found

in nature. The speed of the bot can be controlled by adjusting the frequency of the electric pulses. A higher frequency causes the muscle to contract faster, thus speeding up the bio-bot's progress.

This project's minuscule machines are powered by actual living tissue so it is the fulfillment of scientists' very long attempt to copy nature's efficiency and mechanical elegance.

"This work represents an important first step in the development and control of biological machines that can be stimulated, trained, or programmed to do work," Bashir said in a news post describing the research, which appeared in the journal PNAS.

Such a research is very promising for future medical applications.

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