Conference paper

Biosensing and actuation for microbiorobots

In this paper, we describe how signaling networks and actuation in bacterial cells and biomolecular networks of bacteria can be used to develop an integrated micro-bio-robotic system. SU8 microstructures blotted with swarmer cells of Serratia Marcescens in a monolayer are propelled by the bacteria in the absence of any environmental stimulus. We call such microstructures with bacteria Micro Bio Robots (MBRs) and the uncontrolled motion in the absence of stimuli self actuation. Our paper has two primary contributions. First, we demonstrate the control of MBRs using self-actuation, DC electric fields and ultra-violet radiation, and develop experimentally validated mathematical model for the MBRs. This model allows us to use self-actuation and electrokinetic actuation to steer the MBR to any position and orientation in a planar micro channel. Second, we describe the development of biosensors for the MBRs. This is done by attaching genetically engineered Escherichia coli cells that are capable of sensing nonmetabolizable lactose analog methyl-β-D-thiogalactoside (TMG). We describe the fabrication process for MBRs and show experimental results demonstrating sensing, actuation and control.


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