A Biohybrid Self-Dispersing Miniature Machine Using Wild Oat Fruit Awns for Reforestation and Precision Agriculture

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Abstract

Advances in bioinspired and biohybrid robotics are enabling the creation of multifunctional systems able to explore complex unstructured environments. Inspired by Avena fruits, a biohybrid miniaturized autonomous machine (HybriBot) composed of a biomimetic biodegradable capsule as cargo delivery system and natural humidity-driven sister awns as biological motors is reported. Microcomputed tomography, molding via two-photon polymerization and casting of natural awns into biodegradable materials is employed to fabricate multiple HybriBots capable of exploring various soil and navigating soil irregularities, such as holes and cracks. These machines replicate the dispersal movements and biomechanical performances of natural fruits, achieving comparable capsule drag forces up to ≈0.38 N and awns torque up to ≈100 mN mm−1. They are functionalized with fertilizer and are successfully utilized to germinate selected diaspores. HybriBots function as self-dispersed systems with applications in reforestation and precision agriculture.

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Fiorello, I., Ronzan, M., Speck, T., Sinibaldi, E., & Mazzolai, B. (2024). A Biohybrid Self-Dispersing Miniature Machine Using Wild Oat Fruit Awns for Reforestation and Precision Agriculture. Advanced Materials. https://doi.org/10.1002/adma.202313906

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