Scientists at the University of California Los Angeles have successfully bonded flesh to silicon to create what they claim is world's first muscled robot.
Scientists Jianzhong Xi, Jacob Schmidt and Carlo Montemagno grew muscles from a rat's heart on a silicon microdevice coated with gold. Growing the tissue requires a special polymer, poly-N-isopropylacrlamide (PNI), to ensure the creation of useful muscles.
"The combined integration of PNI and gold with silicon-based microdevices has allowed us to fabricate the world's first self-assembled muscle-powered micro-robots," stated the scientists' research paper.
"They have a maximum moving speed of 40 micrometres per second and can work for more than four hours, although not continuously."
The team is now trying to apply the system to piezoelectric materials which produce electricity when compressed. If successful this will allow glucose, described as a ubiquitous renewable resource, to be used to create power.
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