Biohybrid actuators for robotics: A review of devices actuated by living cells

Leonardo Ricotti, Barry Trimmer, Adam W. Feinberg, Ritu Raman, Kevin K. Parker, Rashid Bashir, Metin Sitti, Sylvain Martel, Paolo Dario, Arianna Menciassi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Actuation is essential for artificial machines to interact with their surrounding environment and to accomplish the functions for which they are designed. Over the past few decades, there has been considerable progress in developing new actuation technologies. However, controlled motion still represents a considerable bottleneck for many applications and hampers the development of advanced robots, especially at small length scales. Nature has solved this problem using molecular motors that, through living cells, are assembled into multiscale ensembles with integrated control systems. These systems can scale force production from piconewtons up to kilonewtons. By leveraging the performance of living cells and tissues and directly interfacing them with artificial components, it should be possible to exploit the intricacy and metabolic efficiency of biological actuation within artificial machines. We provide a survey of important advances in this biohybrid actuation paradigm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereaaq0495
JournalScience Robotics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Nov 22 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Biohybrid actuators for robotics: A review of devices actuated by living cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this