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Researchers Pioneer Biocompatible All-Water 'Aquabots'

By Asia Research News

December 22, 2022

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A team led by researchers at the University of Hong Kong and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) developed a robotic system of "Aquabots," ultrasoft liquid robots comprised mainly of water.

All-liquid three-dimensional printing technology is used to produce the microscale vascular structures, which are self-assembled via aqueous phase separation in which two liquid phases are created from a single homogeneous mixture.

Said LBNL's Thomas P. Russell, "The exterior of the compartmentalized membranes is easily functionalized, for example, by binding enzymes, catalytic nanoparticles, and magnetic nanoparticles that impart sensitive magnetic responsiveness."

This, coupled with Aquabots' soft tactile nature, smooth movements, and ability to change shape and grip objects, enables them to be used for pharmaceutical applications such as delivering drugs in the body through narrow spaces.

Russell said Aquabots "create new opportunities to replicate bio-inspired materials and features, such as dynamic permeability and compartmentalization."

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