Magnetically-actuated soft robots for medical applications are required to be functional, biocompatible, as well as capable of robust motion inside human organs. In this paper, a ring-shaped magnetic soft robot, with a flexible biopolymeric film coating, capable of motion on mucus-coated surfaces is designed and investigated. The biopolymeric film made from chitosan–glycerol (C–G) solution endows the robot with robust locomotion capabilities on surfaces of diverse geometrical shapes and orientations. By utilizing mucoadhesive locomotion, the robot has the potential to carry out clinical procedures on enclosed mucus-coated tissue surfaces. Material characterization shows that the mucoadhesion increases with the increase of contact times and/or preload forces. The softness of the C–G film can be adjusted by controlling the concentration of glycerol. The ring-shaped design and magnetization profile decouple the locomotion and functions of the robot. Additionally, the C–G film-coated robot is tested to be biocompatible for a human colorectal adenocarcinoma cell line with epithelial morphology (HT29). The C–G film reduces the negative effects (superoxide generation) of ferromagnetic particles. Three robot functions including pick-and-place, cargo transportation, and liquid capsule release are demonstrated on different surfaces to show the maneuverability, functionality, and potential of implementing clinical procedures through mucoadhesion.
- Soft robot
- Soft robotics
- Soft robot materials and design
- Magnetic field
- Medical robotics