Research Projects

Direct Electron-Mediated Control of Hybrid Multi-Cellular Robots

Michel Maharbiz, Murat Arcak, Adam Arkin1 and Caroline Ajo-Franklin2

Office of Naval Research

The goal of this project is to design, fabricate and deliver a microscale programmable cellular-synthetic hybrid robot capable of autonomous motility, sensing and response in aqueous environments. If successful, this will be the first demonstration of a completely synthetic, multi-cellular hybrid with organic and man-made components. These millimeter-scale constructs, self-assembled through a methodology which allows for the programmable incorporation of synthetic (silicon and flexible electronic) components, will be manufacturable in large numbers (thousands per liter). 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 electrodes on the abiotic component. We suggest that such a fusion would enable control techniques that rely on both gene expression and cellular level sensing / actuation and computation.

1UC Berkeley, Bioengineering Department
2Lawrence Berkeley National Lab