Roland sez: According to an article to be published by New Scientist on February 28, First robot moved by muscle power, a microrobot half the width of a human hair has been powered by living rat heart muscle. "It is the first time muscle tissue has been used to propel a micromachine." Carlos Montemagno, from the University of California at Los Angeles, who created the 'musclebot', wants to use the technology to help paralyzed people to breathe without a ventilator. And NASA, who helped funding the research, hopes that battalions of these 'musclebots' could one day help maintain spacecraft by plugging holes made by micrometeorites. The device is an arch of silicon 50 micrometres wide. This overview contains more details and additional pictures.
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. Come and hear Mark speak at the ALA conference in Chicago on July 1.