A modular approach to the design, fabrication, and characterization of muscle-powered biological machines

Ritu Raman, Caroline Cvetkovic, Rashid Bashir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Biological machines consisting of cells and biomaterials have the potential to dynamically sense, process, respond, and adapt to environmental signals in real time. As a first step toward the realization of such machines, which will require biological actuators that can generate force and perform mechanical work, we have developed a method of manufacturing modular skeletal muscle actuators that can generate up to 1.7 μN(3.2 kPa) of passive tension force and 300 mN(0.56 kPa) of active tension force in response to external stimulation. Such millimeter-scale biological actuators can be coupled to a wide variety of 3D-printed skeletons to power complex output behaviors such as controllable locomotion. This article provides a comprehensive protocol for forward engineering of biological actuators and 3D-printed skeletons for any design application. 3D printing of the injection molds and skeletons requires 3 h, seeding the muscle actuators takes 2 h, and differentiating the muscle takes 7 d.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)519-533
Number of pages15
JournalNature Protocols
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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