Researcher have been are growing mini-organs, muscles and bones inside the lab. But these tissues are usually wimpy maybe because a petridish is nothing compared to our vast human body.
Bioreactors are usually moist and warm box where cells are grown. Although the lab grown muscles can induce simple movements but they cannot do multiple function like stretching and bending of the human body
This led two scientists from Oxford University to propose the use of humanoid robots to grow engineered tissues instead of growing tissues in lab. The article was published in Science Robotics.
“There is no better bioreactor than the human body itself,so the better we can copy that environment, the better our chances to obtain functional engineered tissues are going to be.”” says tissue engineer Pierre Mouthuy.
Robots like Eccerobot have been successful in replicating the human anatomy in detail, and they can be used to grow better tissue grafts which can be transplanted into ailing humans.
Humanoid robots is able to simulate lifelike architecture and movements of various directions for bones and ligaments. It will be of great help for more cells to differentiate and develop into complex tissues.
So how would the humanoid bioreactor looks like?
The researchers can immerse the robotic body parts in a bioreactor’s nutrient broth but there is a risk of running the electronics of the machine. Another solution for this may be to keep the robot dry while engineered tissue in the artificial skin is allowed to have moisture and nutrients it needs.
The researchers are already working on the prototypes, and hopefully they will be able to find out whether the humanoid bioreactor concept is actually feasible.
If it works out the humanoid bioreactors will eventually be able to nurture more complex tissues and organs, such as lab-grown hearts. If this works out there will be bio-hybrid robots which will be controlled by cells instead of machinery!