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Bionic Butterfly Flaps Its Wings with Heart Muscle Cells

Image: Fu, F., et al. ScienceRobotics 28 Mar 2018 Vol 3, issue 16, eaar8580

When we hear the word "robot," usually we think of a mechanical being made of metal and electronics - but that's not what a team of researchers at Southeast University in Nanjing, China, made. Instead of metal, they use a combination of heart muscle cells, hydrogels and colloidal crystals to create a biohybrid hydrogel structures that can move.

In the image above, the wings of the biohybrid butterfly flaps due to the rhythmic contractions of the heart muscle cells. Cool, huh?

I, for one, welcome our new soft robotic overlords.

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