Biorobot made of mouse muscles moves and thinks out of maze

An image of the biorobot made from mouse muscles grown in a lab.

The modern robot isn’t just a walking tin can, but can now be literal flesh controller anew. In one recent experiment, a biorobot constructed from mouse muscles was able to think and move its way through a manmade maze.

A team of scientists across a number of American universities created the biorobot to fuse organic and artificial parts. This form of robot has been created numerous times in recent years, including spider robot corpses and mind-controlled cyborg cockroaches.

Revealed in a paper published in Science Robotics, the team created a remote-controlled robot out of lab-grown mouse muscles and artificial components. The team is said to have created the most robust biorobot yet, beating speed and performance records for their life-fuelled machine.

The fleshy robots use a combination of mouse muscle cells, LEDs and 3D printed parts to move itself. When the LEDs light up, the muscle cells are activated to move the 3D printer scaffolding. At .83 millimetres per second, the lab-grown robot is the faster hybrid robot, even at its slow fleshy pace.

An image of the biorobot made of mouse muscles navigating its way through a small maze.
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The robot was able to navigate this maze.

Of course, there is one major issue with hybrid robots: life expectancy. As these robots are constructed of living, sometimes thinking, parts they are subjected to aging and dying. While they are lab-grown muscles and cells, they are not immortal. As it turns out, complete muscular degeneration is harder to fix than a bad battery.

In fact, these tiny artificial-organic hybrids may last way shorter than entirely mechanical devices. However, many scientists believe incorporating organic elements into robotics is the future of miniature devices.

The research for these cyborg devices is very new in the field of robotic science. At the time of writing, the new robotic technology has yet to be used for large-scale projects. In the future, the technology is expected to grow into larger, more useful tools as well as smaller-but-faster robotics. They are definitely a little gross, though.

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