“Technical innovation can drive positive social change, and this inspires me to help democratize and diversify STEM innovation and education around the world”, says Ritu Raman, the force behind the BioBot revolution. With a passion for bio-hybrid designing and architecture, she aims to develop robots which are extremely dynamic in nature. Moreover, being the daughter of engineers, Raman always wished to pursue a similar path.
Growing up in India, Kenya and the United States, Ritu Raman had always learnt to appreciate diverse environments. Hence, thriving and adapting herself according to the surroundings has made a great contribution to her journey.
Most of us have our own set of achievements and milestones. But what makes us stand apart is how we choose to revolutionize the world. Making a mark for ourselves using our own set of ideas is what keeps Raman going. An idea of bringing biology and robotics in the same picture was just the beginning for this young mind. Ritu Raman aspires to achieve much more than university accolades, accreditations and awards.
The Beginning Of Biobots
Making the two ends meet has always been a part of the greatest revolutions ever existed. Moreover, Ritu Raman focuses on developing robots from of both polymers and muscle tissue. They are capable of perceiving the environment and measuring temperature, pH, and mechanical pressure. Ritu Raman has built 3D printers which are pattern living cells and proteins, inserting those into a mould where the cells self-assemble into dense muscle tissue. Furthermore, the tissue relocates into a robotic skeleton. The living tissues and muscles power these robotic skeletons and make them move in response to light or electricity.
“I’m a mechanical engineer by training, and I’m honestly a little bored building with the materials we’ve been building with for the past thousand years. So I’m making robots and machines that use biological materials to move and walk around and sense their environment, and do more interesting things—like get stronger when they need to and heal when they get damaged”, says the young prodigy.
Awards, Achievements and Aspirations
Raman is currently working as a postdoctoral fellow in the distinguished Langer Lab at MIT. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have awarded her the renowned Ford Foundation Fellowship. Furthermore, she is a prominent face in the L’Oreal USA for ‘Women in Science’ Fellowship. She is a member of the MIT Technology Review 35 Innovators Under 35 Class of 2019 and the Forbes 30 Under 30 Class of 2018. Since then, she has been working in order to develop novel responsive materials and devices for applications in translational medicine. Ritu is a postdoctoral fellow in the Langer Lab.
Her research interests focus on developing smart responsive implantable devices for sensing and drug delivery in the human body. Understanding and utilizing the dynamically adaptive nature of biological systems is what she focuses upon. She aims to launch an academic research lab focused on bio-hybrid design in the future. Also, she enjoys speaking, writing, and planning outreach events centred on the importance of research in her field.
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