"Wired In" with Taher Saif
Each week, staff writer Paul Wood interviews a different high-tech difference-maker. This week, meet University of Illinois mechanical science and engineering Professor TAHER SAIF, who works on the mechanics of living cells, as well as nanoscale materials. In 2014, his lab developed the first autonomous, self-propelled biohybrid swimming robot at sub-millimeter scale. It was powered by beating cardiac muscle cells from rats. Now, he has led a team to take the first step toward intelligent biohybrid swimmers by incorporating neurons on board.
Tell us what’s different about your biobots.
University of Illinois’ College of Engineering is the home of the new invention of biological machines. Unlike conventional machines that need assembly, these machines self-emerge from interactions between living cells and engineered scaffolds. Rashid Bashir and I have jointly pioneered the field by developing a series of self-propelled biohybrid walking biobots and swimmers.