Bio-Hybrid robots that have human-like features such as cells and bacteria are on the way, scientists have claimed.
Many envision a future of cyborgs – humans that have been fitted with technology to become part man, part machine.
However, before then there will be biohybrid robots which are robots which take on human features.
Biohybrid robots could be fitted with muscle cells to help them perform subtle manoeuvres and the tiniest of biohybrid androids could be fitted with bacteria to help fight viruses and diseases.
A review of the sector published in Science Robotics states the field of robots is entering a “deep revolution in both the design principles and constitutive elements”.
Lead author Leonardo Ricotti, of the BioRobotics Institute at the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, in Pisa, Italy, told Live Science: “You can consider this the counterpart of cyborg-related concepts.
“In this view, we exploit the functions of living cells in artificial robots to optimise their performances.”
If robots on a microscopic scale – nanobots – can be fine tuned using muscle cells or carrying beneficial, they will be able to explore the human body and help to cure ailments in a specific part of the body, such as cancerous cells.
One problem with robots is that they are good at carrying out manoeuvres such as heavy lifting, but their movements are often convulsive which makes it difficult to carry out delicate movements such as cracking an egg in a bowl.
But with animals, including humans, the movements start on a micro scale allowing precision.
The theory is that by fitting robots with muscle tissue, they would be able to carry out more precise actions.
Mr Ricotti says these robots are short lived for the time being because living cells need to be nourished, but experts are evolving them from the “art of possible” to the science of “reliable manufacturing”.