“In a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and led by Saif, the researchers demonstrate a new generation of two-tailed bots powered by skeletal muscle tissue stimulated by on-board motor neurons. The neurons have optogenetic properties: Upon exposure to light, the neurons will fire to actuate the muscles.
“We applied an optogenetic neuron cell culture, derived from mouse stem cells, adjacent to the muscle tissue,” Saif said. “The neurons advanced towards the muscle and formed neuromuscular junctions, and the swimmer assembled on its own.”
After confirming that the neuromuscular tissue was compatible with their synthetic biobot skeletons, the team worked to optimize the swimmer’s abilities…”