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Unlike robotic systems made even partially from organic materials, entirely artificial electronic systems have use cases in both the human body and a variety of other environments, such as tiny crevices in the earth, chemical reactors, and oil pipelines. In order to reach these places, however, these systems must be tiny—the size of red blood cells, which are not more than ten microns in diameter.

Albert Liu is a presidential fellow working in Michael Strano’s lab in the MIT Department of Engineering, and he joins the podcast to discuss their most recent accomplishments: the creation of an entirely artificial robotic system the size of a human red blood cell, and recent publications detailing how these systems can be employed in aerosolizable electronics and soil matrices. He also discusses the most difficult aspects of creating these systems, the insight he’s gained as a graduate student working in this field, the revolutionary potential of these systems in medicine and industry, and the tradeoffs between biological and artificial robotics.

Interested in learning more? Stay current on the latest research by visiting https://srg.mit.edu/, and tune in to hear the full conversation.

Mass producing colloidal electronics (with a video):
http://news.mit.edu/2018/how-mass-produce-cell-sized-robots-1023

Strano website:
https://srg.mit.edu/

Albert website:
https://albert-t-liu.com/

Nature Nano reference:
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41565-018-0194-z

Nature Materials reference:
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41563-018-0197-z

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