Researchers are one step closer to creating real cybernetic transplants

Researchers are one step closer to creating real cybernetic transplants

  • By using 3D-printed skeleton scientists have made fingers.
  • The skeleton is controlled with electrodes which simulate the tissue attached.
  • Scientists have also developed a new way to attach living tissue to bionic devices.
The past few decades have seen tremendous growth and advancements in science and robotics, diminishing the line between humans and machines. We have come a long way from remote-controlled primitive machines. And Artificial Intelligence (AI) is leading the way.

And in the latest in the new list of discoveries, researchers from the University of Tokyo Institute of Industrial Science published their study in the Science Robotics on Wednesday, claiming to have created a bio-hybrid robot.

A Biohybrid robot is a cybernetic organism, basically a robot controlled by a computer consisting of both electronic and biological elements. The device, that remained functional for a week was an amalgamation of living tissue and synthetic robotics.

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For the fabrication of the device scientists first printed the skeleton of the robot out of 3D resins. Living muscle tissues were then incorporated into the device using anchors to hold it in place.

Next, the researchers used perforated hydrogel sheets incorporated with myoblast — a type of stem cell — to construct the living muscle. The sheets were then attached to the skeleton with the use of anchors. Some extra structures were also introduced to promote tissue growth. The stem cells which were used eventually matured into muscle cells. The device then used electrode simulations to control tissues for the movements of the device.

“Once we had built the muscles, we successfully used them as antagonistic pairs in the robot, with one contracting and the other expanding, just like in the body,” the author of the study Shoji Takeuchi said in a news release.

“The fact that they were exerting opposing forces on each other stopped them shrinking and deteriorating, like in previous studies,” he added.

While robotics in general has advanced in leaps and bounds, the bio-hybrid humanoid is the next step into the future.

These bio-hybrid robots can be also be used as cybernetic implants that would serve as prosthetic limbs or other parts of the human body. Such technology could be used for drug tests just like the organ on a chip technology, which is currently under development.

Researchers are one step closer to creating real cybernetic transplants


Who knows what the future holds for this technology, but it seems that “the future of medicine lies in the hands of biohybrid robotics”.

Image Source: ScienceRobotics