3D Print caught wind of a brand-new article in the scientific journal Nature Protocols. This article, “a modular approach to the design, fabrication, and characterization of muscle-powered biological machines,” was written by the researchers Ritu Raman, Caroline Cvetkovic, and Rashid Bashir from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Department of Bioengineering.
In plain English, the researchers have essentially published a recipe for 3D printed bio-bots. As Raman, Cvetkovic, and Bashir explain: “the protocol teaches every step of building a bio-bot, from 3D printing the skeleton to tissue engineering the skeletal muscle actuator, including manufacturers and part numbers for every single thing we use in the lab. This protocol is essentially intended to be a one-stop reference for any scientist around the world who wants to replicate [our results]…and give them a framework for building their own bio-bots for a variety of applications.”
These bio-bots are more than capable of adapting to their environment. “3D printing has been a major impetus for the progress seen here in robots, through allowing such advances in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. The biomaterials of today now allow for the creation of what the researchers call ‘smart responsive machines,’ able to work in a range of different applications.”
As their ‘recipe’ explains: “the 3D printing revolution has given us the tools required to ‘build with biology’ in this way. We re-designed the 3D printed injection mold to produce skeletal muscle ‘rings’ that could be manually transferred to any of a wide variety of bio-bot skeletons. These rings were shown to produce passive and active tension forces similar to those generated by muscle strips.”
“In writing the paper and releasing their bio-bot ‘recipe,’ the researchers are hoping to see others not only appreciate and re-create their work – but to improve on it as well. The team hopes this is just the beginning as scientists everywhere are able to begin meeting current challenges in medicine and science.”
Image and Quotes Courtesy of 3D Print