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Biohybrid robots as cyborgs powered by living muscle tissue

The researchers created cyborgs by increasing the integration of living muscles into robots. A new field of biohybrid robotics involves the use of living tissues inside the robot, not just metals and plastics where muscles are one of the key potential components to provide driving force for movement and function.

Researchers at the University of Tokyo integrate live muscles into machines as a source of movement. The team developed a new method cultivated into individual muscle precursor cells from scratch into the sheet and then fully functioning into skeletal muscle tissue.

Laporan Penelitian Biohybrid robots as cyborgs powered by living muscle tissue

They incorporate these muscles into the skeleton of a biohybrid robot as an antagonist pair that mimics humans to achieve extraordinary motion and continue function for more than a week before the muscles become limp where the living cells die. The team reports to Science Robotics.

"We build muscles, we managed to use them as antagonistic pairs with one contraction and the other widened, just like in our body," said Shoji Takeuchi of the University of Tokyo.

The robot frame includes hinges, anchors in which muscles can stick, and electrodes to provide stimuli to induce contractions. The live tissue uses a hydrogel sheet containing muscle precursor cells called myoblasts, holes to attach these sheets to the robot frame, and lines to push the muscle fibers to form in parallel ways.

"Our findings to show the muscle structure in robots can mimic human actions.If we combine these muscles into more devices, we will reproduce the complex muscle interactions that allow the hands, arms, and other parts of the body to function," said Yuya Morimoto of the University of Tokyo.

Journal : Yuya Morimoto et al. Biohybrid robot powered by an antagonistic pair of skeletal muscle tissues, Science Robotics, 30 May 2018, DOI:10.1126/scirobotics.aat4440