A new breed of muscle-powered robots can walk on command
Credit: University of Illinois at Urbana-Campaign
Robots can be very strong, fast and enduring. However, unlike in animals, none of this strength comes from muscle, instead robots mainly rely on electrical motors and other hard and generally inflexible parts. But with all the advantages that conventional robot hardware can deliver, it still does not match the ability of muscle-powered animals to provide an accurate response to different physical environments. To address this downside of robotics, a group of researchers, led by Professor Rashid Bashir, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Campaign developed tiny walking bio-robots powered by engineered muscle tissue.
A new breed of micro-robots has been demonstrated to be capable of constructing complex 3D printed tissue architecture by gently guiding diverse cell-encapsulating building blocks, known as hydrogels, to their proper places in multi-layered and heterogeneous tissue structures.