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Wirelessly Powered 3D Printed Bio-hybrid Robot


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Biomimetic soft robot is a research subject with broad application prospect because of its excellent characteristics such as autonomous energy supply, high energy conversion rate and self-repair. Combining flexible electronic device set with life-like bionic robot to form bio-hybrid soft robot can combine the advantages of traditional robot and life-like robot. However, the existing bio-hybrid soft robots are mainly divided into electrode drive and optical drive, and it is necessary to make the wired electrode/light source follow the robot to achieve the control function. The existence of wires greatly limits the application of bio-hybrid robots.


To solve this problem, a team of researchers at Harvard Medical School has developed a wirelessly powered biohybrid soft robot. The team used 3D printing to construct multiple layers of a foldable, biocompatible scaffold on a flexible wireless power supply and control circuit, and then inoculated cardiomyocytes onto the scaffold. The circuit receives electrical energy through the wireless coil and transmits it to the stimulation circuit to stimulate the cardiomyocytes. Since the wireless circuit is integrated into the bio-hybrid robot, the robot's underwater mobility is not constrained by the wires.


Experiments have shown that by adjusting the wireless drive frequency, a biologically-hybrid robot with a side length of 2 centimeters can move at a speed of about 580 microns per second. At the same time, the drive circuit has good biocompatibility and no obvious biotoxicity is found. In short, this innovative design method provides a reference for the design of unconstrained biological hybrid soft robots, and provides a possibility for the realization of interactive sensing and targeting operations based on integrated circuits, which has important application value in biomedical fields.


Tetsuka, H., Pirrami, L., Wang, T., Demarchi, D., Shin, S. R., Wirelessly Powered 3D Printed Hierarchical Biohybrid Robots with Multiscale Mechanical Properties. Adv. Funct. Mater. 2022, 32, 2202674. https://doi.org/10.1002/adfm.202202674

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