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Biohybrid soft robots with self-stimulating skeletons

Biohybrid soft robots with self-stimulating skeletons
Biohybrid soft robots with self-stimulating skeletons
Bioinspired hybrid soft robots that combine living and synthetic components are an emerging field in the development of advanced actuators and other robotic platforms (i.e., swimmers, crawlers, and walkers). The integration of biological components offers unique characteristics that artificial materials cannot precisely replicate, such as adaptability and response to external stimuli. Here, we present a skeletal muscle–based swimming biobot with a three-dimensional (3D)–printed serpentine spring skeleton that provides mechanical integrity and self-stimulation during the cell maturation process. The restoring force inherent to the spring system allows a dynamic skeleton compliance upon spontaneous muscle contraction, leading to a cyclic mechanical stimulation process that improves the muscle force output without external stimuli. Optimization of the 3D-printed skeletons is carried out by studying the geometrical stiffnesses of different designs via finite element analysis. Upon electrical actuation of the muscle tissue, two types of motion mechanisms are experimentally observed: directional swimming when the biobot is at the liquid-air interface and coasting motion when it is near the bottom surface. The integrated compliant skeleton provides both the mechanical self-stimulation and the required asymmetry for directional motion, displaying its maximum velocity at 5 hertz (800 micrometers per second, 3 body lengths per second). This skeletal muscle–based biohybrid swimmer attains speeds comparable with those of cardiac-based biohybrid robots and outperforms other muscle-based swimmers. The integration of serpentine-like structures in hybrid robotic systems allows self-stimulation processes that could lead to higher force outputs in current and future biomimetic robotic platforms.
2470-9476
Guix, Maria
1d56db95-bdea-49d3-9361-0417b8e53975
Mestre, Rafael
33721a01-ab1a-4f71-8b0e-abef8afc92f3
Patiño, Tania
efac661c-e5d3-4619-8cd9-db82f392683a
Corato, Marco De
633c06b9-578a-475f-aa57-bd1d497d4b6a
Fuentes, Judith
c42e3685-cc15-4ed0-9226-f6a515fac8ef
Zarpellon, Giulia
c398ea1d-25ec-4b09-ada9-0511f2b61cc0
Sánchez, Samuel
21f41564-f601-4df1-b6a5-3f8138911958
Guix, Maria
1d56db95-bdea-49d3-9361-0417b8e53975
Mestre, Rafael
33721a01-ab1a-4f71-8b0e-abef8afc92f3
Patiño, Tania
efac661c-e5d3-4619-8cd9-db82f392683a
Corato, Marco De
633c06b9-578a-475f-aa57-bd1d497d4b6a
Fuentes, Judith
c42e3685-cc15-4ed0-9226-f6a515fac8ef
Zarpellon, Giulia
c398ea1d-25ec-4b09-ada9-0511f2b61cc0
Sánchez, Samuel
21f41564-f601-4df1-b6a5-3f8138911958

Guix, Maria, Mestre, Rafael, Patiño, Tania, Corato, Marco De, Fuentes, Judith, Zarpellon, Giulia and Sánchez, Samuel (2021) Biohybrid soft robots with self-stimulating skeletons. Science Robotics, 6 (53), [eabe7577]. (doi:10.1126/scirobotics.abe7577).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Bioinspired hybrid soft robots that combine living and synthetic components are an emerging field in the development of advanced actuators and other robotic platforms (i.e., swimmers, crawlers, and walkers). The integration of biological components offers unique characteristics that artificial materials cannot precisely replicate, such as adaptability and response to external stimuli. Here, we present a skeletal muscle–based swimming biobot with a three-dimensional (3D)–printed serpentine spring skeleton that provides mechanical integrity and self-stimulation during the cell maturation process. The restoring force inherent to the spring system allows a dynamic skeleton compliance upon spontaneous muscle contraction, leading to a cyclic mechanical stimulation process that improves the muscle force output without external stimuli. Optimization of the 3D-printed skeletons is carried out by studying the geometrical stiffnesses of different designs via finite element analysis. Upon electrical actuation of the muscle tissue, two types of motion mechanisms are experimentally observed: directional swimming when the biobot is at the liquid-air interface and coasting motion when it is near the bottom surface. The integrated compliant skeleton provides both the mechanical self-stimulation and the required asymmetry for directional motion, displaying its maximum velocity at 5 hertz (800 micrometers per second, 3 body lengths per second). This skeletal muscle–based biohybrid swimmer attains speeds comparable with those of cardiac-based biohybrid robots and outperforms other muscle-based swimmers. The integration of serpentine-like structures in hybrid robotic systems allows self-stimulation processes that could lead to higher force outputs in current and future biomimetic robotic platforms.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 26 March 2021
Published date: 28 April 2021

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 449299
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/449299
ISSN: 2470-9476
PURE UUID: 5e464ec0-f1f5-4b0b-8efd-cd8fc390c66b
ORCID for Rafael Mestre: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2460-4234

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 21 May 2021 16:33
Last modified: 28 Apr 2022 02:32

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Contributors

Author: Maria Guix
Author: Rafael Mestre ORCID iD
Author: Tania Patiño
Author: Marco De Corato
Author: Judith Fuentes
Author: Giulia Zarpellon
Author: Samuel Sánchez

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