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BPN718: Direct Electron-Mediated Control of Hybrid Multi-Cellular Robots

Project ID BPN718
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Start Date Wed 2013-Aug-14 10:52:02
Last Updated Thu 2014-Aug-07 15:06:15
Abstract We propose to design, fabricate and test a millimeter-scale, programmable cellular- synthetic hybrid robot capable of autonomous motility, sensing and response in aqueous environments. Three integrated technologies will make this possible: 1) two-way electron transfer between an electrode and E. coli for rapid communication between abiotic core and cells; 2) a flexible polymer + CMOS sensing and computation abiotic core; 3) synthetic cell adhesion genes which allow for patternable self-assembly of bacterial cells onto the abiotic substrate. If successful, this will be the first demonstration of a millimeter-scale synthetic autonomous multi- cellular hybrid with organic and man-made components. A primary goal of this work will be to enable abiotic/biotic two-way communication via electron transfer channels engineered into cells in contact with microelectrodes. We suggest that such a fusion would enable control techniques that rely on combinations of gene expression, cell- level sensing / actuation and CMOS digital computation.
Status Continuing
Funding Source Office of Naval Research (ONR)
IAB Research Area BioMEMS
Researcher(s) Tom J. Zajdel
Advisor(s) Michel M. Maharbiz
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