Scientists have developed a new hydrogel that stretches and contracts just like an artificial muscle. The team created an L-shaped object made out of the hydrogel and immersed it in a water bath. When the water’s temperature was varied, it slowly "walked" forward.
Hydrogels have huge potential in the field of biomedicine, but aren't without their shortcomings in their existing form. These tiny polypeptide chains are championed for their many possible applications. Indeed, in the last few years alone we've seen advances that suggest they could find use in generating new heart tissue, fighting off superbugs and the controlled release of anti-inflammatory drugs. But researchers have now developed a hydrogel that mimics the elasticity of human tissue and can be activated by exposure to light, claiming it could offer safer means of repairing wounded tissue.
Back in 2013, we heard that nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diago (UC San Diego) had successfully used nanosponges to soak up toxins
in the bloodstream. Fast-forward two years and the team is back with
more nanospongey goodness, now using hydrogel to keep the tiny fellas in
place, allowing them to tackle infections such as MRSA, without the need for antibiotics.