This biohybrid robot is powered by an antagonistic pair of skeletal muscle tissues.
Biohybrid robots are attracting attention as promising candidates to enhance robot applicability to study biological designs and in vitro construction of biological dynamic systems.
The rapid progress in biohybrid robots, with skeletal muscle tissues, which is formed on a flexible substrate has enabled various types of locomotion powered by muscle tissue.
However, it has been difficult to achieve high levels of both large and long-term movement of the skeletal muscle tissues because of their spontaneous shrinkage through the course of the tissue culture.
To overcome this limitation, the company adopted the concept of biological systems and developed a biohybrid robot actuated by an antagonistic pair of skeletal muscle tissues.
The robots, which can be seen in action in the video below, achieved large actuation (90° of rotation of a joint) by selective contractions of the skeletal muscle tissues and a long lifetime (1 week) by balancing tensions of the antagonistic tissues to prevent the spontaneous shrinkage.
This research may provide a platform to exceed the limitations of design in conventional biohybrid robots and replicate various lifelike movements.