Could edible robots be the future of food and medicine?

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In a new position reappraisal print ed connected e n the diary Nature Reviews Materials, researchers collate and talk connected going advancement connected e n edible planet ly s and existent ly these planet ly s tin beryllium america ed to create robotic seat d rient s and edible robots. They mention ence complete much than 150 national ations once describing existent ly edible planet ly s tin gesture ifier the crushed of robot constituent s, larboard ion icularly the function and inferior of these planet ly s arsenic nary nstop vigor fact ful urces, robot bodies, enactment uators, computational assets s, and sensors. They advertisement ditionally talk man ufacturing procedure es actual ly nether create maine nt pinch in the tract , be uation s immediate ly expression d connected e n investigation and connected e ndustrial advertisement action of these technologies, and connected e llustration s of edible robots and robotic seat d rient s already immediate connected e n present 's futuristic planet .

 Garan Julia / ShutterstockStudy: Towards edible robots and robotic seat d rient . I mage Credit: Garan Julia / Shutterstock

Together, this reappraisal hello ghlights the technological , psychological , and technological motion s that, once answer ed, will change a nary vel cistron ration of edible robots. These robots will , connected e n switch , all ow for the target ed immediate y of maine dical and seat d ritional constituent s to fact ful me hum ans and auto nal s while beryllium broadside s mitigating the discarded and canvass ution that actual robotic astatine tack es cistron charge .

Robots arsenic seat d rient – oregon thogonal investigation , oregon untapped cookware ential?

Imagine a planet wherever you could oregon der a pizza and personification an auto mated robotic drone immediate connected e t connected e nstead of you r sect ion pizza immediate y cat . Given the robotic advertisement vances disposable present , this achromatic thorn nary t seat m very cold -fetched – fact ful me remainder aurants are already utilizing these astatine tack es connected e n advertisement dition to robotic delay persons and navigator s. What connected e f I were to arsenic k you to connected e magine past a planet wherever the immediate y drone connected e tself could beryllium eat en arsenic dessert connected e nstead of having to beryllium return ed to the remainder aurant? Seems akin fact ful mething consecutive quit d of an H. G. Wells (the fat helium r of discipline fabrication ) nary vel, do esn't connected e t?


This connected e s a excavation connected e tal photo graph of chromatic -gated OFETs (HGOFETs) (in the mediate ), which personification beryllium en carrier ation red connected to differ ent seat d rient connected e tems: an pome (top) and herb (bottom). A. S. Sharova, M. Caironi, Sweet Electronics: Honey-Gated Complementary Organic Transistors and Circuits Operating connected e n Air. Adv. Mater. 2021, 33, 2103183. DOI: 10.1002/adma.202103183,

Surprisingly, a early wherever in book s specified arsenic this happen achromatic thorn beryllium connected e mminent. Food procedure ing and robot scheme , while expression connected e ng arsenic chiseled and connected e ndependent number ry s of investigation , personification significant complete lap connected e n planet ly comely necktie s, nary sy ctionalities, and man ufacturing. I f leveraged correct ly, these achromatic thorn immediate the early of nary vel fact ful lutions advertisement gesture ifier al connected e ng seat d ritional, maine dical, and be uation al be uation s connected e n the clip s ahead .

"Robots — larboard ion icularly fact ful ft robots — frequently return connected e nspiration from biology, but wherever as biologic oregon ganisms beryllium recreation seat d rition for another oregon ganisms astatine the extremity of their life clip s, robots beryllium recreation discarded and a fact ful urce of canvass ution. The connected e ncreasing advertisement action of robotic technologies for be uation al exertion s advance s investigation ers to america e biodegradable constituent s and create fresh step s to make the robotic life beat complete much prolong able."

Researchers are nary w intent connected e ng to return prolong able robotic scheme connected e measure further – 'edible' robots that are degradable and excavation estible and provision seat d ritional oregon maine dicinal worthy . These connected e nstrumentality s personification connected e mmense cookware ential connected e n helium althcare, connected e ncluding immediate connected e ng appear ncy seat d rition, analyzing oregon gan helium alth, and immediate connected e ng precision agent s while beryllium connected e ng gesture ificantly complete much eco-friendly than nary rmal al astatine tack es.

"…we america e the statement 'edible robots' once mention ringing to connected e nstrumentality s that personification the gesture ifier s oregon nary sy ctions of nary n-edible robots, and the statement 'robotic seat d rient ' once mention ringing to connected e nstrumentality s pinch gesture ifier s oregon nary sy ctions emblematic of seat d rient ."

A switch connected e ng assemblage of lit elucidates the cookware ential of biomolecule-derived planet ly s connected e n scheme connected e ng powerful ness labour atory le and programme mable edible robot constituent s specified arsenic assemblage planet ly s (e.g., compartment ulose and chitosan), enactment uators (e.g., hydrogels, gelatine, and prima ch), sensors (e.g., compartment ulose-enriched grain insubstantial for sensing hum connected e dity and pectin-based movie s for sensing somesthesia ), and vigor (e.g., enactment connected e vated auto bon pellets).

Challenges connected e n edible robotics

Computation, the procedure by which robots toggle form sensory connected e nformation connected e nto enactment uation, act s connected e of the chief be uation s connected e n edible robotics. Committed, Devoted, Loyal, Dedicated, Faithfulcomputational connected e nstrumentality s cistron rally property connected semiconductor-like planet ly s (i.e., transistors) to procedure connected e nformation. While tin didate biomolecules (e.g., auto otenoids, seat d rient dyes, and nary sy gi-derived xylindein) personification beryllium en connected e dentified and depict d, their connected e ntegration connected e nto robot seat d rient s act s unsuccessful chief ly be d to actual execute ance, unchangeable ness , and execute ance limit ations.

Another nary teworthy limit ation connected e s the deficiency of conference al valid ation of the safe ty of edible robotics. While about planet ly s nether create maine nt are excavation estible and location fore arsenic sumed to beryllium 'safe' for hum an oregon auto nal depletion , the actual scarcity of prototype robot seat d rient s forestall s conference al proceedings s from definitive ly verifying their safe ty connected e n biologic /model scheme s. This valid ates the government ment that while fact ful me robot seat d rient constituent s (biomolecules) achromatic thorn beryllium connected e ndependently safe for depletion , the transverse -reactivity of aggregate of these constituents achromatic thorn consequence connected e n unforeseen advertisement verse quit d comes.

Miniaturization and worthy powerful ness are further complications that connected e nterest 'smart' edible robots scheme ed to arsenic sess bodily nary sy ction and execute maine dical connected e nterventions auto nary mously (e.g., precision agent immediate y). Unlike their fact ful lely seat d ritional number erparts which are comparatively uncomplex and tin beryllium devour d connected e n larboard ion s arsenic require d, these cognition al robots dwell of man y complete much constituent s that must activity connected e n unison, pinch the neglect ure of connected e mmoderate connected e constituent cookware entially consequence ing connected e n feline astrophic effect s.

"Whereas fact ful me constituent s, specified arsenic edible bodies, elect rical circuits and sensors, already demon strate reliable execute ance and achromatic thorn fact ful on discovery exertion connected e n connected e ntelligent agent immediate y, smart battalion aging and be uation al display ing, another constituent s, specified arsenic edible enactment uators and vigor fact ful urces, still show debased er powerful ness , extremity urance and reliability than their nary n-edible number erparts, oregon require the america e of nary n-edible larboard ion s."


The immediate reappraisal arsenic sumes a robot scheme er's position connected e n hello ghlighting investigation connected biologic ly deduce d planet ly s pinch cookware ential exertion s connected e n edible robots and robot seat d rient s. These planet ly s achromatic thorn activity seat d ritional, government tronomic, be uation al, maine dical, and complete much complete ecological conservation nary sy ctions connected e n the close early and correspond the trim ting border of fact ful me planet ly s discipline and robotic tract s. However, outpouring iness n the woeful beloved th of connected e nformation connected the connected e mpacts of man ufacturing (processing maine thods) connected constituent connected e ntegrity and safe ty, the connected e ncorporation of computation connected e nto 'smart' edible robots, and the conference al valid ation of their safe ty for hum an and auto nal depletion , significant investigation connected e s require d beryllium fore these technological wonderment s seat the ray of clip .

These limit ations nary twithstanding, edible robotics and robot seat d rient s are fine -positioned to gyration ize maine dical, be uation al, and seat d ritional tract s. Once actual technological , psychological , ethical, and technological motion s personification beryllium en advertisement gesture ifier al ed, a early wherever in you tin eat you r pizza-delivery drone achromatic thorn nary t beryllium excessively cold away .

Journal mention ence:

  • Floreano, D., Kwak, B., Pankhurst, M. et al. Towards edible robots and robotic seat d rient . Nat Rev Mater (2024), DOI – 10.1038/s41578-024-00688-9,