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Muscle-powered bio-bots walk on command

Engineers have demonstrated a class of walking “bio-bots” powered by muscle cells and controlled with electrical pulses, giving researchers unprecedented command over their function. “Biological actuation driven by cells is a fundamental need for any kind of biological machine you want to build,” said study leader Rashid Bashir, Abel Bliss Professor and head of bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “We’re trying to integrate these principles of engineering with biology in a way that can be used to design and develop biological machines and systems for environmental and medical applications. Biology is tremendously powerful, and if we can somehow learn to harness its advantages for useful applications, it could bring about a lot of great things.”

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