3D Printed "Biobots" Powered By Rat Heart Cells
Everyday the future written about in sci-fi seems to get ever closer and it’s tech like 3D printing that’s making it happen. You can dispute that claim, but I will counter your dispute with this latest breakthrough: 3D printed biobots. These Frankenbots mix the biological with the artificial and use rat’s heart cells for power.
The concoction is the result of work by scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The biobots are tiny biological robots—7mm tall—that use a 3D printer to create a flexible gel scaffold, which is then injected with the rat’s heart cells. The cells chow down on liquid food so they can allow the biobot to walk, travelling at the micro-speed of 236 micrometers per second.
These are early prototypes but in the future the scientists aim to have them featuring skeletal muscle—which is easier to control—with two legs, so they can move around in the open air to monitor the environment, and hunt and destroy toxins. And possibly humanity. Witness the crawling of this incredible, but slightly worrying, breakthrough in the video above.