Scientists have made a surprising discovery that could revolutionize the tiny-living robot world – microscopic robots made from human cells! The tiny robots, made at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in New York, are a first-of-their-kind experiment in the field of robotics.
The scientists started by taking a sample of human cells and using them to make tiny robotic structures. The cells were inserted into a frame made of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) which contains visible channels that act as robot legs. Each robot took just over two hours to create and had a total of four legs that measured a mere 180 microns in length, making them almost invisible to the naked eye.
The robots were then driven using a type of electromagnetic wave known as ‘optical tweezers’. This allowed the robots to move in the same way as a conventional robot, by keeping the structure stable and exerting a force to propel the robot.
When the robots were tested, the researchers found that the robots could move around at a rate of one body-length per second. This was a massive achievement and left the researchers stunned.
The researchers believe that the use of human cells in robotics enables many organic functions to be incorporated into robots. For example, the possibility exists to create robots that sense their environment through temperature and light. What’s more, the robots could even be programmed to perform medical functions such as injecting medicine into a specific target.
The research team hopes that their work will inspire other researchers to take on various challenges in the robotics world. They’ve shown that through hard work and innovative solutions, it is possible to use human cells to create robots that have the potential to scale from tiny living robots to giant medical robots. The potential is enormous – watch this space!