Robots created with 3D printed muscle tissue

A research group from the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) working on smart nanobiodevices has created hybrid robots that combine synthetic material with muscle tissue created by 3D bioprinting. Due to their partially biologic nature, the tiny robotic devices offer more advantages in terms of performance and movement than current purely artificial devices.

IBEC is a leading centre in the research and design of nanobiodevices aimed at, for example, delivering medical compounds to certain parts of the body in a more precise manner.

“Biologically inspired soft robotic devices belong to a new discipline that can help us overcome the limitations of conventional robotic systems, in areas like flexibility, capacity of reaction and adaptability,” says Samuel Sánchez, Icrea research professor and chief researcher at IBEC.

The researchers used 3D bioprinting to create the muscle tissue, which was then applied to the robot’s bioactuators before calibrating the force and studying genetic expression to evaluate the adaptability to training exercises.

“We saw that they are functional and sensitive and the forces they generate can be modulated in regards to the different needs,” says Tania Patiño, postdoctoral researcher and the author of the article that describes the research in the magazine Advanced Materials Technologies.

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