Researchers have developed soft robotic devices that can be driven by neuromuscular tissue that will get triggered when stimulated by light.
Their work, revealed Monday within the PNAS, brings the field of mechanical engineering one step closer to creating autonomous biobots.
The researchers have been capable of demonstrating a brand new technology of two-tailed bots powered by skeletal muscle tissue that has been stimulated by onboard motor neurons. These neurons will fire as much as actuating muscles upon exposure to light, making them optogenetic based on the research’s findings.
Another researcher concerned within the research stated their work opens up other possibilities for using most of these biobots to benefit most people.
“The ability to drive muscle activity with neurons paves the way for additional integration of neural units within biohybrid systems,” Taher Saif, a mechanical science and engineering professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, stated. “Given our understanding of neural management in animals, it may be possible to move forward with biohybrid neuromuscular design by utilizing a hierarchical organization of neural networks.”
The scientists envision potential applications within the areas of bioengineering, medicine, and self-healing materials technologies.