It might not look like Arnold Schwarzenegger quite yet, but the new cyborg built by researchers at the University of Illinois is still pretty impressive. This "biobot" is a tiny piece of lab-grown muscle that moves when electricity runs through it.
The researchers used human muscle, bone and tendon connections as inspiration for this project. They created a "backbone" using a 3-D printer. It bends like a joint and provides strength like bone. The mini cyborg moves when a controller sends electric pulses through it.
The biobot’s human controller can command the robot by issuing electrical pulses that power its movement. The frequency of the pulses can be adjusted to control speed: The higher the frequency, the more muscle contractions, the faster the biobot walks.
This is a big breakthrough in this type of technology. An older cyborg that the same team created used rat heart cells. The biobot would move, but they couldn't control it because heart cells flex spontaneously. This new one can be controlled more easily using electricity.
This technology has all sorts of possible uses in the future, from medicine to the military.