The concept of robots has been around for decades now. Generally, when we think of robots, we often think of machines made of hard and rigid parts. Yet, these traditional robots are limited in terms of their flexibility, adaptivity, and biocompatibility. Therefore, soft robotics has become a prominent paradigm to explore and address these aspects. Among the soft robots, biohybrid robots incorporate living cells with flexible materials, together reproducing lifelike functions, such as walking, gripping, pumping, or swimming. Owing to the biological components, biohybrid robots exhibit unprecedented biocompatibility, adaptivity, and the ability of self-assembling and self-healing.
Here, we introduce a maneuverable biohybrid walker designed and selected through a systematic approach based on modeling, simulation, and fabrication. The image displays a dual-ring biobot consisting of two tissue-engineered muscle ring actuators and a 3D-printed 4-legged scaffold asymmetric in the fore/aft direction. The integration of two independent muscles on a flexible body, combined with external electrical stimulation, provides the dual-ring biobot with directional walking and rotational steering abilities. The maneuvering skills hereby demonstrated shed light on a myriad of biomedical applications, such as drug screening, drug delivery, and biomimetic machine designs.