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Title Sogang-Harvard joint research team developed robot that moves with biological tissues without electricity for the first time in the world
Writer sogpr Date 2016-07-13 Views 2706



Sogang-Harvard joint research team developed robot that moves with biological tissues without electricity for the first time in the world


- Sogang University Professor Choi Jung-woo and Harvard University joint research team succeeded to develop stingray shaped robot by using rat myocardial cell and published as the cover article in ‘Science’-


Professor Choi Jung-woo


‘Research Center for Disease Biophysics of Sogang-Harvard’ joint research team, which was jointly established by Sogang University and Harvard University, succeeded in creating stingray shaped robot by combining cell of living body and inorganic materials (Sogang University Department of Biochemistry Professor Choi Jung-woo, Harvard University Professor Kevin Parker and Researcher Park Sung-jin).


This result was published as the cover article in ‘Science’, an international academic journal on July 8. With the evaluation as ‘Robotic stingray powered by light-activated muscle cells’, it was selected as the cover article.



This developed coin-shaped small stingray type of robot can swim in water without internal power engine. It shrinks when there is light stimulus, if not the relaxed muscle cells act a motor role and repeats to shrink and relax. When strong light is given to the one side of the robot, the side of the muscle that receives the light exercises more strongly so it is possible to change directions.


Stingray type of bio-robot drawing (left) Driving principle of bio-robot (Right) (Material = Science)


The research team formed the body with ‘high molecule elastic polymer’ like a rubber and manufactured the skeleton with gold. After that attached muscle structure which was produced by incubating cardiac muscle cell of a rat and the muscle structure matched with the muscle of actual stingray. When the light is reflected to this robot, the muscle repeats to contract and release and makes it possible to swim in the water. This robot which is 16.3mm long with the size of a 10 won-coin, only weighs 10mg and its speed is 2.5mm per second. This can run for 1 week if the light exists. If the glucose is mixed into the water, it can receive the energy continuously and swim.



Picture of stingray robot and actual stingray (Material = Science)


For a long time many scientists have been trying to develop robot that does not have to provide electric power but by applying biological tissues moving robot could not be developed. Artificial jellyfish by using cells or walking robots have been developed, however, these could not change directions or control speed so they weren’t able to be officially named as ‘robots’.


This developed robot by Professor Choi Jung-woo joint research team is the first robot that can move without extra power unit such as electricity and it is being evaluated to suggest the possibility to develop robot by using biological tissue. It is expected to be utilized in biosensor development with disease diagnosis function and so on.


Professor Choi Jung-woo announced the meaning of this research and said, “Through this research suggested the possibility of bio-robot that combined biological tissue and machine, also prepared groundwork that can be extended to the development of robot that is similar to human by combining artificial intelligence technique in the future.” Also expressed the pride and said, “This achievement by carrying out international joint research has set an example to show competitiveness of the nation’s research ability.”


On the other hand, this research was carried out with the support from Global Research and Development Center(GRDC) of Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning.


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