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Creators/Authors contains: "Guix, Maria"

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  1. Abstract

    The past ten years have seen the rapid expansion of the field of biohybrid robotics. By combining engineered, synthetic components with living biological materials, new robotics solutions have been developed that harness the adaptability of living muscles, the sensitivity of living sensory cells, and even the computational abilities of living neurons. Biohybrid robotics has taken the popular and scientific media by storm with advances in the field, moving biohybrid robotics out of science fiction and into real science and engineering. So how did we get here, and where should the field of biohybrid robotics go next? In this perspective, we first provide the historical context of crucial subareas of biohybrid robotics by reviewing the past 10+ years of advances in microorganism-bots and sperm-bots, cyborgs, and tissue-based robots. We then present critical challenges facing the field and provide our perspectives on the vital future steps toward creating autonomous living machines.

     
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  2. This paper presents our work over the last decade in developing functional microrobotic systems, which include wireless actuation of microrobots to traverse complex surfaces, addition of sensing capabilities, and independent actuation of swarms of microrobots. We will discuss our work on the design, fabrication, and testing of a number of different mobile microrobots that are able to achieve these goals. These microrobots include the microscale magnetorestrictive asymmetric bimorph microrobot ( μ MAB), our first attempt at magnetic actuation in the microscale; the microscale tumbling microrobot ( μ TUM), our microrobot capable of traversing complex surfaces in both wet and dry conditions; and the micro-force sensing magnetic microrobot ( μ FSMM), which is capable of real-time micro-force sensing feedback to the user as well as intuitive wireless actuation. Additionally, we will present our latest results on using local magnetic field actuation for independent control of multiple microrobots in the same workspace for microassembly tasks. 
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  3. Abstract

    Biohybrid robots, or bio‐bots, integrate living and synthetic materials following a synergistic strategy to acquire some of the unique properties of biological organisms, like adaptability or bio‐sensing, which are difficult to obtain exclusively using artificial materials. Skeletal muscle is one of the preferred candidates to power bio‐bots, enabling a wide variety of movements from walking to swimming. Conductive nanocomposites, like gold nanoparticles or graphene, can provide benefits to muscle cells by improving the scaffolds’ mechanical and conductive properties. Here, boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs), with piezoelectric properties, are integrated in muscle‐based bio‐bots and an improvement in their force output and motion speed is demonstrated. A full characterization of the BNNTs is provided, and their piezoelectric behavior with piezometer and dynamometer measurements is confirmed. It is hypothesized that the improved performance is a result of an electric field generated by the nanocomposites due to stresses produced by the cells during differentiation. This hypothesis is backed with finite element simulations supporting that this stress can generate a non‐zero electric field within the matrix. With this work, it is shown that the integration of nanocomposite into muscle‐based bio‐bots can improve their performance, paving the way toward stronger and faster bio‐hybrid robots.

     
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  4. Soft, untethered microrobots composed of biocompatible materials for completing micromanipulation and drug delivery tasks in lab-on-a-chip and medical scenarios are currently being developed. Alginate holds significant potential in medical microrobotics due to its biocompatibility, biodegradability, and drug encapsulation capabilities. Here, we describe the synthesis of MANiACs—Magnetically Aligned Nanorods in Alginate Capsules—for use as untethered microrobotic surface tumblers, demonstrating magnetically guided lateral tumbling via rotating magnetic fields. MANiAC translation is demonstrated on tissue surfaces as well as inclined slopes. These alginate microrobots are capable of manipulating objects over millimeter-scale distances. Finally, we demonstrate payload release capabilities of MANiACs during translational tumbling motion. 
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