Researchers developed a tissue-based soft robot to mimic biomechanics of a stingray, according to a new article published by Science Daily on January 13, 2018.
Researchers at UCLA bioengineering, led by Ali Khademhosseini, developed a tissue-based soft robotic new technology that could lead to advances in bio-inspired robotics, regenerative medicine, and medical diagnostics.
The team observed the simple body design of stingrays, specifically, its flattened body shape and side fins that start at the head and end at the base of their tail. These features make them ideal to model bio-electromechanical systems on.
They created a 10-millimeter long robot with four layers: tissue composed of live heart cells, two distinct types of specialized biomaterials for structural support, and flexible electrodes. Imitating nature, the robotic stingray is even able to flap its fins when the electrodes contract the heart cells on the biomaterial scaffold.
“The development of such bio-inspired systems could enable future robotics that contain both biological tissues and electronic systems. This advancement could be used for medical therapies such as personalized tissue patches to strengthen cardiac muscle tissue for heart attack patients.” Khademhosseini said
This development has the potential to improve several medical treatments. Increasing demand for minimally invasive therapies and surgeries are increasing the demand for robotic surgeries, as elaborated in Surgical Robots Market report published by Coherent Market Insights.