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A team of engineers just successfully merged biological life with machinery, building tiny sperm-inspired robots that use living nerve and muscle cells to swim around when exposed to light.

The new robots aren’t particularly smart — their neural function doesn’t get any more sophisticated than automatically activating their muscles when a light shines on them, according to a press release. But the successful integration of skeletal muscle and stem cell-derived neurons with machinery is a promising sign for the future of the nascent field of soft robotics.

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