Rapid prototyping bacterial spore hygro-actuators for soft robotics and adaptive materials

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Over the past decade, rapid prototyping has migrated from the research and industrial labs into the homes of consumers. However, these solid models are limited in demonstrating dynamic actuation. A large range of soft materials are readily available for sensing and structural applications, but soft actuators are still relatively weak and inefficient. One method of introducing strong, controllable actuation to devices with gentle stimulation is through hygroscopic actuators. We present a CNC platform and the potential toward developing printable actuators for soft robotic applications. We develop an improved spore suspension (BioInk) that resists sedimentation and improves ink jetting and surface wetting. We demonstrate that ink vectors control the direction, speed, and magnitude of actuation. Extended work by the researchers demonstrate potential for both contractile and expansive actuation. Finally, stimuli-responsive folding architectures are presented as a possible tool for hierarchical design of humidity-responsive soft robots.

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Journal: TechConnect Briefs
Volume: 3, Biotech, Biomaterials and Biomedical: TechConnect Briefs 2015
Published: June 14, 2015
Pages: 251 - 254
Industry sectors: Advanced Materials & Manufacturing | Medical & Biotech
Topic: Biomaterials
ISBN: 978-1-4987-4729-5