Make your own rat-cell robot with a 3D printer!

Gigaom

The uses for a 3D printer are truly astounding. Take for example researchers at the University of Illinois, who have made a “walking” robot comprised of a smattering of hydrogel and a few cardiac rat cells. Researchers built the robot using a 3D printer, creating a cyborg inchworm whose forward motion occurs with every beat of the rat’s heart cells.

The goal here was to create bio-compatible designs that mimic and take advantage of nature to build machines and solve problems. While the bio-bot is only 7 mm long — about a quarter-inch — it could be used in drug testing or other chemical detection jobs. Integrated sensors that react to certain chemicals could be installed on the bio-bot and cause it to veer away from specific chemical compounds, indicating their presence. It could be a 7mm-self-propelled canary in the coal mine.

From a release on the topic:

“The idea…

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