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Muscle-Powered Robots Have Freedom of Movement

By Northwestern Now

January 25, 2023

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Researchers at Northwestern University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), and the University of Houston collaborated on the construction of remote-controlled electronic biological robots (eBiobots) powered by organic muscles.

A research team led by UIUC's Rashid Bashir engineered biological robots powered by mouse muscle tissue cultured on a three-dimensionally-printed polymer framework.

Northwestern's John A. Rogers and colleagues added remote control by integrating wireless microelectronics and battery-free micro-light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

The researchers can transmit wireless signals to the eBiobots that cause the LEDs to pulse, stimulating muscle contraction and locomotion of the machines' polymer legs.

"This unusual combination of technology and biology opens up vast opportunities in creating self-healing, learning, evolving, communicating, and self-organizing engineered systems," Rogers explained.

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