Advancing biologically driven soft robotics and actuators will involve employing different scaffold geometries and cellular constructs to enable a controllable emergence for increased production of force. By using hydrogel scaffolds and muscle tissue, soft biological robotic actuators that are capable of motility have been successfully engineered with varying morphologies. Having the flexibility of altering geometry while ensuring tissue viability can enable advancing functional output from these machines through the implementation of new construction concepts and fabrication approaches. This study reports a forward engineering approach to computationally design the next generation of biological machines via direct numerical simulations. This was subsequently followed by fabrication and characterization of high force producing biological machines. These biological machines show millinewton forces capable of driving locomotion at speeds above 0.5 mm s−1. It is important to note that these results are predicted by computational simulations, ultimately showing excellent agreement of the predictive models and experimental results, further providing the ability to forward design future generations of these biological machines. This study aims to develop the building blocks and modular technologies capable of scaling force and complexity of these devices for applications toward solving real world problems in medicine, environment, and manufacturing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1801145
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number23
StatePublished - Jun 6 2018


  • PEGDA scaffolds
  • biohybrid robots
  • biological machines
  • skeletal muscles
  • tissue modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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