A self-swimming microbial robot using microfabricated nanofibrous hydrogel

Kazuhiko Higashi, Norihisa Miki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Micro-robots are of extreme interest for a wide range of applications. Examples include therapeutic applications inside of a living body and automatic untethered systems which work in microfluidic devices. Recently, flagellated bacteria have been employed as microactuators for the micro-robots. Here, we introduce bacterial cellulose (BC) as an effective support carrier for immobilizing flagellated bacteria. Experimental study revealed that the superiority of BC over conventional MEMS materials in immobilization. Next, a new microfabrication technique for forming conical-shaped BC is proposed. This technique achieved the untethered microstructure of BC with a help of oxygen concentration gradient. Finally, we demonstrate motile bacteria were successfully immobilized onto the BC structure to form a microbial-robot, which swam in culture media at an average speed of 4.8 μm/s.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-306
Number of pages6
JournalSensors and Actuators, B: Chemical
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Oct 31


  • Bacterial cellulose
  • Flagellated bacteria
  • MEMS
  • Micro-robot
  • Microorganisms
  • Nanofibrous hydrogel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Instrumentation
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry


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