Research ArticleENGINEERING

A magnetically actuated microrobot for targeted neural cell delivery and selective connection of neural networks

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Science Advances  25 Sep 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 39, eabb5696
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abb5696


There has been a great deal of interest in the development of technologies for actively manipulating neural networks in vitro, providing natural but simplified environments in a highly reproducible manner in which to study brain function and related diseases. Platforms for these in vitro neural networks require precise and selective neural connections at the target location, with minimal external influences, and measurement of neural activity to determine how neurons communicate. Here, we report a neuron-loaded microrobot for selective connection of neural networks via precise delivery to a gap between two neural clusters by an external magnetic field. In addition, the extracellular action potential was propagated from one cluster to the other through the neurons on the microrobot. The proposed technique shows the potential for use in experiments to understand how neurons communicate in the neural network by actively connecting neural clusters.

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