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Adv Mater. 2018 Mar;30(10). doi: 10.1002/adma.201704189. Epub 2018 Jan 11.

Electrically Driven Microengineered Bioinspired Soft Robots.

Shin SR1,2, Migliori B1,2,3, Miccoli B1,2, Li YC1,2, Mostafalu P1,2, Seo J1,2,4, Mandla S1,2, Enrico A1,2,5, Antona S1,2, Sabarish R1,2, Zheng T1,2, Pirrami L6,7, Zhang K8, Zhang YS1,2, Wan KT8, Demarchi D6, Dokmeci MR1,2, Khademhosseini A1,2,9,10,11,12,13,14.

Author information

Biomaterials Innovation Research Center, Division of Engineering in Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, 02139, USA.
Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, 02139, USA.
Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, 17177, Stockholm, Sweden.
Center for Biomaterials, Biomedical Research Institute, Korea Institute of Science and Technology, Seoul, 02792, Korea.
Department of Micro and Nanosystems, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.
Department of Electronics and Telecommunication, Politecnico di Torino, Torino, 10129, Italy.
Department of Electrical Engineering, Institute for Printing, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland, Fribourg, 1705, Switzerland.
Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, 02115, USA.
Center for Nanotechnology, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, 21569, Saudi Arabia.
Department of Bioindustrial Technologies, College of Animal Bioscience and Technology, Konkuk University, Seoul, 143-701, Republic of Korea.
Department of Bioengineering, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, University of California-Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
Department of Radiology, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California-Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
Center for Minimally Invasive Therapeutics (C-MIT), University of California-Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI), University of California-Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


To create life-like movements, living muscle actuator technologies have borrowed inspiration from biomimetic concepts in developing bioinspired robots. Here, the development of a bioinspired soft robotics system, with integrated self-actuating cardiac muscles on a hierarchically structured scaffold with flexible gold microelectrodes is reported. Inspired by the movement of living organisms, a batoid-fish-shaped substrate is designed and reported, which is composed of two micropatterned hydrogel layers. The first layer is a poly(ethylene glycol) hydrogel substrate, which provides a mechanically stable structure for the robot, followed by a layer of gelatin methacryloyl embedded with carbon nanotubes, which serves as a cell culture substrate, to create the actuation component for the soft body robot. In addition, flexible Au microelectrodes are embedded into the biomimetic scaffold, which not only enhance the mechanical integrity of the device, but also increase its electrical conductivity. After culturing and maturation of cardiomyocytes on the biomimetic scaffold, they show excellent myofiber organization and provide self-actuating motions aligned with the direction of the contractile force of the cells. The Au microelectrodes placed below the cell layer further provide localized electrical stimulation and control of the beating behavior of the bioinspired soft robot.


bioactuators; bioinspiration; cardiac tissue engineering; flexible microelectrodes; hydrogels

[Available on 2019-03-01]

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