Navigation Links
Tiny swimming bio-bots boldly go where no bot has swum before
Date:1/17/2014

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. The alien world of aquatic micro-organisms just got new residents: synthetic self-propelled swimming bio-bots.

A team of engineers has developed a class of tiny bio-hybrid machines that swim like sperm, the first synthetic structures that can traverse the viscous fluids of biological environments on their own. Led by Taher Saif, the University of Illinois Gutgsell Professor of mechanical science and engineering, the team published its work in the journal Nature Communications.

"Micro-organisms have a whole world that we only glimpse through the microscope," Saif said. "This is the first time that an engineered system has reached this underworld."

The bio-bots are modeled after single-celled creatures with long tails called flagella for example, sperm. The researchers begin by creating the body of the bio-bot from a flexible polymer. Then they culture heart cells near the junction of the head and the tail. The cells self-align and synchronize to beat together, sending a wave down the tail that propels the bio-bot forward.

This self-organization is a remarkable emergent phenomenon, Saif said, and how the cells communicate with each other on the flexible polymer tail is yet to be fully understood. But the cells must beat together, in the right direction, for the tail to move.

"It's the minimal amount of engineering just a head and a wire," Saif said. "Then the cells come in, interact with the structure, and make it functional."

See an animation of the bio-bots in motion at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmU4rWq4KGg and a video of a free-swimming bot at http://news.illinois.edu/WebsandThumbs/saif,taher/freeSwimmer.avi.

The team also built two-tailed bots, which they found can swim even faster. Multiple tails also opens up the possibility of navigation. The researchers envision future bots that could sense chemicals or light and navigate toward a target for medical or environmental applications.

"The long-term vision is simple," said Saif, who is also part of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the U. of I. "Could we make elementary structures and seed them with stem cells that would differentiate into smart structures to deliver drugs, perform minimally invasive surgery or target cancer?"

The swimming bio-bot project is part of a larger National Science Foundation-supported Science and Technology Center on Emergent Behaviors in Integrated Cellular Systems, which also produced the walking bio-bots developed at Illinois in 2012.

"The most intriguing aspect of this work is that it demonstrates the capability to use computational modeling in conjunction with biological design to optimize performance, or design entirely different types of swimming bio-bots," said center director Roger Kamm, a professor of biological and mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "This opens the field up to a tremendous diversity of possibilities. Truly an exciting advance."


'/>"/>

Contact: Liz Ahlberg
eahlberg@illinois.edu
217-244-1073
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Nothing fishy about swimming with same-sized mates
2. Researchers develop rapid test strips for bacterial contamination in swimming water
3. Study shows Where Alzheimers starts and how it spreads
4. Big data project reveals where carbon-stocking projects in Africa provide the greatest benefits
5. High-resolution 3-D imaging draws new picture of Golgis whereabouts during cell division
6. Where water is limited, researchers determine how much water is enough
7. 2-way traffic enable proteins to get where needed, avoid disease
8. Deletion of any single gene provokes mutations elsewhere in the genome
9. Hear where you are: How sound not only informs, but places us
10. Where can coral reefs relocate to escape the heat?
11. After millennia of mining, copper nowhere near peak
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/5/2017)... April 5, 2017  The Allen Institute for Cell ... Explorer: a one-of-a-kind portal and dynamic digital window into ... data, the first application of deep learning to create ... cell lines and a growing suite of powerful tools. ... these and future publicly available resources created and shared ...
(Date:4/4/2017)... April 4, 2017   EyeLock LLC , a ... the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has ... the linking of an iris image with a face ... represents the company,s 45 th issued patent. ... very timely given the multi-modal biometric capabilities that have ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... The research team of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) ... ground breaking 3D fingerprint minutiae recovery and matching technology, pushing contactless ... use in identification, crime investigation, immigration control, security of access and ... ... A research team led by Dr Ajay Kumar ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... A recent survey conducted by the Weed ... to control weed in 12 categories of broadleaf crops, fruits and vegetables, while common ... the U.S. and Canada participated in the 2016 survey, the second conducted by WSSA. ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 22, 2017 , ... ... a row in the Aragon Research Globe™ for Corporate Learning, 2017. , Aragon ... direction and market demand, and effectively perform against those strategies. NetDimensions’ ranking as ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... ... applications, has announced a facility expansion to accommodate its rapid growth. , The ... new workspace and renovation of the existing areas. The expansion includes, a state-of-the-art ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... Cambridge Semantics , the leading ... year’s Bio-IT World Conference and Expo in Boston May 23-25 with a ... The Anzo Smart Data Lake is also a finalist for the Best of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: