They are soft, biocompatible, about 7 mm in length (that is, quite Macrodimension) and are able to move independently. These miniature bioboty developed at the University of Illinois (USA), marks a huge step forward in synthetic biology.
That's how they look and yet — Androids from Illinois.
Creating a non-electronic biological machines — the most intriguing problem the solution of which beat the scientists working at the intersection of biology and engineering.
The current moving bioboty — it's not just an imitation of what has already been created by nature, but also the unique functionality of the machine, which are used for the production of a hydrogel, the cells of the heart muscle and the 3D-printer. According to the developers, "construction" biobotov may be modified by the requirements of their specific future use.
Details of creating biobotov and their characteristics are given in the article published in the journal open Scientific Reports (with a large number of illustrations and the experimental data).
The key to locomotion (coordinated set of movements by which, for example, a person moves through space) biobotov was asymmetry. Each robot, resembling a microscopic jump, there is one long, thin leg resting on a firm, dense supporting short leg. Thin and long covered the cardiac muscle cells of laboratory mice. When these cells are reduced, leg throbbing, biobota pushes forward. Maximum speed is not too small — 236 mm / s.
Tool for creating 3D-bot was a printer that uses gelatinous hydrogel for printing and the "body" (the body). This approach allows us to quickly produce and test different forms biomachines and conduct fine-tuning of the initial design for maximum speed.
Scientists themselves dream of creating bots, living cells that could respond to certain external stimuli — for example, the chemical gradient. In this case, the bots could be used as a "dog" living sensors, sniffer and accelerating toward the source of toxins.
The plans bioengineers development control and functional properties of the wards. One of the obvious features — the integration of neurons to the direction of motion, as well as the incorporation of light-sensitive cells. In addition, scientists are working to create robots with complex physical design that will allow them to perform a variety of movements in three-dimensional space.