Science Nation: These BioBots show some real muscle

NSF Science Nation

From Science Nation, 03/07/2016  --  These tiny living machines are being groomed for big jobs down the road


The tiny BioBots engineered at one NSF-funded Science and Technology Center (STC) move a bit like inchworms, but they represent giant strides in science and engineering. They can be controlled with electrical or optical signals and use muscle tissue for power.

The mission of the STC on Emergent Behaviors of Integrated Cellular Systems (EBICS) is to develop the science and technology needed to engineer clusters of living cells. This will eventually help mankind address challenges in health, security and the environment. EBICS researchers at the forefront of this novel and multidisciplinary field are committed to sharing responsible and ethically conscious practices for forward engineering biological machines.

Currently, researchers are focused on BioBots that mimic the body, but, perhaps one day, biological machines could replace animals for drug testing, or be used to detect and neutralize toxins in the environment or even sequester carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere.

The research in this episode was supported by NSF award #0939511, NSF Science and Technology Center: Emergent Behaviors of Integrated Cellular Systems.

To review more supporting content online, visit the NSF Science Nation website.

Miles O'Brien, Science Nation Correspondent
Marsha Walton, Science Nation Producer