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Open AccessArticle

Insect Muscular Tissue-Powered Swimming Robot

Division of Materials Science, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Ikoma 6300192, Japan
Laboratory for Integrated Biodevices, Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research, RIKEN, Suita 5650871, Japan
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Osaka University, Suita 5650871, Japan
Global Center for Medical Engineering and Informatics, Osaka University, Suita 5650871, Japan
Department of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics, Shinshu University, Ueda 3868567, Japan
Institute for Open and Transdisciplinary Research Initiatives, Osaka University, Suita 5650871, Japan
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Both authors contributed equally to this work.
Actuators 2019, 8(2), 30;
Received: 22 February 2019 / Revised: 2 April 2019 / Accepted: 4 April 2019 / Published: 8 April 2019
Bio-actuators that use insect muscular tissue have attracted attention from researchers worldwide because of their small size, self-motive property, self-repairer ability, robustness, and the need for less environment management than mammalian cells. To demonstrate the potential of insect muscular tissue for use as bio-actuators, three types of these robots, a pillar actuator, a walker, and a twizzer, have been designed and fabricated. However, a model of an insect muscular tissue-powered swimming robot that is able to float and swim in a solution has not yet been reported. Therefore, in this paper, we present a prototype of an insect muscular tissue-powered autonomous micro swimming robot that operates at room temperature and requires no temperature and pH maintenance. To design a practical robot body that is capable of swimming by using the force of the insect dorsal vessel (DV), we first measured the contraction force of the DV. Then, the body of the swimming robot was designed, and the design was confirmed by a simulation that used the condition of measured contraction force. After that, we fabricated the robot body using polydimethylpolysiloxane (PDMS). The PDMS body was obtained from a mold that was fabricated by a stereo lithography method. Finally, we carefully attached the DV to the PDMS body to complete the assembly of the swimming robot. As a result, we confirmed the micro swimming robot swam autonomously at an average velocity of 11.7 μm/s using spontaneous contractions of the complete insect DV tissue. These results demonstrated that the insect DV has potential for use as a bio-actuator for floating and swimming in solution. View Full-Text
Keywords: bio-actuator; insect muscular tissue; autonomous swimming; spontaneous contraction bio-actuator; insect muscular tissue; autonomous swimming; spontaneous contraction
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MDPI and ACS Style

Yalikun, Y.; Uesugi, K.; Hiroki, M.; Shen, Y.; Tanaka, Y.; Akiyama, Y.; Morishima, K. Insect Muscular Tissue-Powered Swimming Robot. Actuators 2019, 8, 30.

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