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Biohybrid Robot

June 4, 2018

Merging living muscle with synthetic bones.



Part robot, part living tissue. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The title character in The Terminator film is part human, part machine, with soft tissue fused onto a non-living scaffold. In the journal Science Robotics, University of Tokyo mechanical engineer Shoji Takeuchi and his colleagues test that concept by growing muscle tissue onto plastic bones.

SHOJI TAKEUCHI (University of Tokyo):

So we actually make the finger bone-like structures by using the 3D printer, and then culture the living muscle tissues in between the finger bones.


The muscle tissue attaches to the bones with flexible ribbons. The device used paired, opposing muscles, like the human bicep and tricep, so that with electrical currents, the researchers could flex or extend the structure with precision.


Our dream is to make the real robot behave like a living body.


Biohybrid devices could also be used to test new drugs and therapies. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon