Two kinds of biomimetic systems including engineered organ chip and flexible electronic sensor are presented. First, in vivo, renal tubular epithelial cells are exposed to luminal fluid shear stress (FSS) and a transepithelial osmotic gradient. In this study, we used a simple collecting-duct-on-a-chip to investigate the role of an altered luminal microenvironment in the translocation of aquaporin-2 (AQP2) and the reorganization of actin cytoskeleton (F-actin) in primary cultured inner medullary collecting duct (IMCD) cells of rat kidney. We demonstrate that several factors (i.e., luminal FSS, hormonal stimulation, transepithelial osmotic gradient) collectively exert a profound effect on the AQP2 trafficking in the collecting ducts, which is associated with actin cytoskeletal reorganization. Furthermore, with this kidney-mimicking chip, renal toxicity of cisplatin was tested under static and fluidic conditions, suggesting the physiological relevancy of fluidic environment compared to static culture. Second, we present a simple architecture for a flexible and highly sensitive strain sensor that enables the detection of pressure, shear and torsion. The device is based on two interlocked arrays of high-aspect-ratio Pt-coated polymeric nanofibres that are supported on thin polydimethylsiloxane layers. When different sensing stimuli are applied, the degree of interconnection and the electrical resistance of the sensor changes in a reversible, directional manner with specific, discernible strain-gauge factors. We show that the sensor can be used to monitor signals ranging from human heartbeats to the impact of a bouncing water droplet on a superhydrophobic surface.
This paper presents a superelastic alloy microgripper with integrated electromagnetic actuators and piezoelectric sensors. The design parameters for electromagnetic actuators in the microgripper are selected based on the sensitivity analysis using FEM analysis. For integration of miniature force sensors in the microgripper, the sensor design based on the piezoelectric polymer PVDF film and fabrication process are also presented. Electro discharge machining technology is employed to fabricate the microgripper structure made of superelastic NiTi alloy. The experimental setup is implemented to evaluate the performance of the fabricated force sensors and electromagnetic actuators integrated into the microgripper. Finally, results of finite element computer simulations for electromagnetic actuators and piezoelectric polymer sensors are compared with experimental results.