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Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed soft, microscopic, swimming biohybrid robots powered by skeletal muscle tissue that is stimulated by onboard motor neurons. The neurons have optogenetic properties — upon exposure to light, they fire to actuate the muscle tissue. The body of the biohybrid swimmer consists of a free-standing soft scaffold, skeletal muscle tissue, and an optogenetic stem cell-derived neural cluster containing the motor neurons.
The research team had previously developed self-propelled swimming biobots powered by beating cardiac muscle cells derived from rats. “That generation of singled-tailed bots utilized cardiac tissue that beats on its own, but they could not…READ MORE