Register for an account


Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.


Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.


Tiny Robot Walks Using Rat Heart Muscle

Similar bots may one day clear clots in blood vessels.

By Ada BrunsteinJanuary 22, 2008 6:00 AM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Scientists in Korea have designed a crablike robot that is smaller than the thickness of a fingernail and powered by contractions of cardiac tissue.

Sukho Park of Chonnam National University and a team of researchers affixed heart tissue from a rat onto the body of the robot. When the tissue contracted, the robot’s six horizontally aligned legs (see image above) pulled together. When the tissue relaxed, the legs drew apart. The pulses propelled the robot (video below) forward through a solution at 100 micrometers per second (about 0.0002 mile per hour).

The researchers hope to make other biocompatible devices that could one day carry clot-busting agents to clogged vessels. But the robot on thatfantasticvoyage will have to be faster and stronger than this prototype in order to force its way against flowing blood (which travels at about 2 mph).

3 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.


Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 50%


Already a subscriber? Register or Log In