Engineered Living Systems: A new Frontier for Biomedical Microdevices
The integration of living cells with soft scaffolds can enable the fabrication of biological machines and soft robotics. These cell-based biological machines can be defined as a set of sub-components consisting of living cells and cell-instructive micro-environments that could eventually perform a range of prescribed tasks. The realization of biological machines and their sub-components will require a number of suitable cell sources, biomaterials, and enabling technologies. Here, we review our group’s recent efforts towards this goal and of developing cell based biological machines. We have developed 3D printed structures which are combined with tissue engineered muscle strips and ring structures to electrically or optically control the motion of these devices. These devices could have potential applications in drug delivery, power generation, and other biomimetic systems.