Biobot made of heart cells and gel looks like fluttering butterfly
“The 3-D robotic butterfly made from the color-changing biohybrid hydrogel. Credit: Fu et al., Sci. Robot. 3, eaar8580 (2018)
A team of researchers at Southeast University in Nanjing, China, has developed a heart-on-a-chip platform incorporating rat heart muscle cells, hydrogel and nanocrystals. In their paper published in the journal Science Robotics, the group describes their structure, how it was made, and the uses to which it might be put.
As researchers at pharmaceutical companies and other research institutes work to create new drugs for various maladies, others look for ways to assist them. To that end, heart-on-a-chip platforms have been developed to test the impact of drugs on heart anatomy. In this new effort, the researchers have turned to the chameleon for inspiration.
As they describe it, they were inspired by a study of the means by which the lizard changes its colors. It gave them the idea to induce the same effect in a lab specimen rather than a living creature. The result of that effort is an oddly beautiful butterfly-like biobot, seemingly changing colors as it flaps its wings…”
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