Rob, I agree. The field of robotics is constantly changing. The days of mechanized machines are becoming quite eloquent and sophisticated using bioengineering as the catalyst in the design process. Although I'm not an advocate of creating artifical beings, the ability to create robots with human dexterity is somewhat intriguing. As always, great article Ann!
Rob, if you mean the use of animal tissue to create genetically engineered tissue, that practice is pretty regular. So are the protests by PETA et al. But this story is all about robots, not using this stuff on humans.
Here's an icky answer for how genetically engineered tissue is kept alive. First, just from being a sci-fi fan I knew the tissue had to be grown and preserved in some kind of artificial, nutrient-rich medium. This article on creating artificial meat (hence the "ick" factor) has some answers on how that's done: http://suite101.com/article/lab-grown-hamburgers-to-hit-the-market-next-year-a397077 But does that mean that skeletal muscle tissue on a robot is somehow immersed in a liquid nutrient bath?
Rob, you're asking the same excellent question Jack asked regarding the engineered tissue in the Medusoid. As I responded to him, I think the answer lies more in the realm of biotech than robotics, at least for now. Does anyone else know?
I agree pretty incredible. Ann, any idea when MIT and U of PA plan to have the first working model of their genetically engineered robot? Are there plans on using the engineered skeletal muscles in humans?
New versions of BASF's Ecovio line are both compostable and designed for either injection molding or thermoforming. These combinations are becoming more common for the single-use bioplastics used in food service and food packaging applications, but are still not widely available.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.