Friday, May 10, 2024
Dott. Mario Urso

Nature provides a plethora of stimuli-responsive and self-organization phenomena, where biological systems manifest adaptive reactions and global patterns resulting from the interactions between its constituents and the surrounding environment. These intricate behaviors serve as a source of inspiration for the development of nature-mimicking micro/nanorobot swarms to solve specific challenges beyond individuals’ capabilities. Micro/nanorobots are obtained starting from micro/nanomaterials by introducing the motion feature and increasing intelligence in terms of programmable functions, tactic and collective behaviors. Inspired by the diel vertical migration of crustaceans, photogravitactic microrobots capable of light-driven self-propulsion in the 3D space can rapidly capture, electrochemically detect, and photocatalytically degrade plastic or polymeric contaminants in water. Cooperative actions of animal groups, such as the self-organization of fire ants into “living” bridges to march across gaps or floating rafts during floods, inspired the reconfigurable, reversible, and active self-assemblies of photocatalytic magnetic microrobots into planar or linear structures, triggered by light-induced attractive phoretic or magnetic interactions between microrobots, enabling new approaches in biological cargo transport and water purification. Mimicking the synchronized motion of fish schools and bird flocks, metamachines of magnetic microrobots are magnetically navigated as a synchronized group of microrobots in narrow microfluidic channels, emulating blood vessels, and disperse “on-demand” to maximize the volume of operation, opening new possibilities in biomedicine. These insights pave the way for transformative approaches in diverse applications, promising profound societal and environmental impacts.