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Biobots Swim Thanks to Sperm-Like Design

Researchers have designed swimming biobots inspired by sperm, and powered by skeletal muscle tissue and motor neurons.

Two-Tailed Biobot / Image: Michael Vincent
Two-Tailed Biobot / Image: Michael Vincent

A recent Sociable article discussed a new swimming biorobot that takes its design cues from sperm cells. A team of researchers at University of Illinois conceived the bots, which are propelled by muscles and nerves from rats. Each synthetic biobot skeleton is equipped with two tails and contains real skeletal muscle tissue that’s controlled by neurons that fire when exposed to light. The result is a swimming biobot that could one day navigate the body to deliver drugs, perform minimally invasive surgery, or even target cancer.

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