Entries with tag hydrogel.

Robot Muscles Propel Automatons

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers have developed small robots with biomimetic muscular engines that enable the machines to move across a surface or through a liquid. Biomimetics is the study and imitation of the biological substances and mechanisms for the purpose of solving complex problems. The University of Illinois scientists are designing their system for use as sensors able to operate autonomously and, in some cases, respond to problems. The tiny muscular robot—which is made of soft hydrogels—could, for example, detect a target toxic chemical in water, move to the substance, and release material to neutralize it. (Tech Crunch)(University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

3D-Printed “Liver” Detoxifies Body

University of California at San Diego scientists have used a 3D printer to create a device—inspired by the human liver—that attracts and removes toxins from the body. The biomimetic 3D detoxifier uses 3D-printed hydrogels—which contain nanoparticles that sense, attract, and capture toxins—arranged in a matrix. The researchers’ proof-of-concept device could lead to the creation of other 3D-printed medical devices. They published their findings in the journal Nature Communications. (re/Code)(Nature Communications)

Printable, Electrically Conductive Gel Created

Stanford researchers have developed a simple-to-make, electrically conductive gel that is similar in appearance to biological tissue, but can conduct electricity like a semiconductor. Researchers made the hydrogel using aniline and phytic acid, which form a porous, sponge-like structure. The pores expand the gel’s surface area, which increases both the amount of charge it can hold and its electrical response. Phytic acid acts like a dopant in the material, making it highly conductive. The material can be sprayed in liquid form onto a surface because it does not form into a gel until it is in place. This, says researchers, means that intricately patterned electrodes could be affordably made. Devices made with the material could include medical probes, laboratory biological sensors, biofuel cells, and high-energy density capacitors. The findings have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (Science Daily)(Gizmag)(Stanford University)(Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)

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