A tiny robot made of sea slug muscles and 3D-printed parts

We typically think about cyborgs as half human, half machine, however roboticists do not limit themselves that means. Researchers have developed a hybrid mechanism designed with body elements from a unique source: ocean slugs.

The new mechanism combines a Y-shaped muscle from the mouth of a Golden State Aplysia punctata (Aplysia californica) with a 3D-printed skeleton.

Researchers surgically removed the alleged “I2” muscle from the mouths of ocean slugs and affixed them to versatile, 3D-printed plastic frames. once the muscles were subjected to AN external field, the ensuing contractions created a deliberate clawing motion that was able to move the little mechanism up to zero.2 inches (0.5 centimeters) per minute. [The half dozen Strangest Robots Ever Created]

The golem was sculptural once the approach ocean turtles crawl, as a result of the researchers wished to form one thing that might move with only 1 formed muscle, study lead author Victoria Webster, a college man at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, told Live Science in AN email. But, it ought to be attainable to use similar techniques to form a lot of complicated robots with completely different movement designs, like the inchworm-inspired version that the team is functioning on currently, she added.

With some a lot of developments, the scientists same, groups of robots may be deployed for tasks like looking for nephrotoxic underwater leaks or finding AN airplane’s “black box” flight information recorder once it’s crashed into the ocean.
And at some point, the designers would additionally wish to create entirely biological robots by commutation the plastic elements of the new hybrid larva with organic material.

“We’re building a living machine — a bio-hybrid golem that is not utterly organic — nonetheless,” Webster same in a very statement.

Sea slugs sleep in a good vary of temperatures and conditions, thus their muscles will perform in myriad environments. This natural skillfulness is essential to developing biological machines that area unit capable of operational in numerous environments.

“By exploitation the ocean hare as our material supply, we’ve obtained materials that area unit a lot of strong than the cells that are utilized in the past,” Webster same.

The team is currently experimenting with as well as the ganglia, or animal tissue, that controls the I2 muscle. “They answer direct chemical stimulation or to stimulation of the sensory system nerves,” Webster same. “By stimulating the nerves, we have a tendency to could also be able to steer the golem within the future.”

The scientists additionally developed a way to mould albuminoid gel from the ocean slugs’ skin into “scaffolding” for utterly organic machines. These non-hybrid robots would be cheap, nonpolluting and perishable, the scientists same, sanctioning them to unharness several robots while not having to stress if a number of them area unit lost.

“Our hope is to continue developing these devices to incorporate organic controllers, sensors and skeletons,” Webster same.

The study’s findings were printed on-line July twelve within the journal Bio-mimetic and Bio-hybrid Systems.