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?
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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