Advanced Robotics to Address the Translational Gap in Tendon Engineering.
Sander IL., Dvorak N., Stebbins JA., Carr AJ., Mouthuy P-A.
Tendon disease is a significant and growing burden to healthcare systems. One strategy to address this challenge is tissue engineering. A widely held view in this field is that mechanical stimulation provided to constructs should replicate the mechanical environment of native tissue as closely as possible. We review recent tendon tissue engineering studies in this article and highlight limitations of conventional uniaxial tensile bioreactors used in current literature. Advanced robotic platforms such as musculoskeletal humanoid robots and soft robotic actuators are promising technologies which may help address translational gaps in tendon tissue engineering. We suggest the proposed benefits of these technologies and identify recent studies which have worked to implement these technologies in tissue engineering. Lastly, key challenges to address in adapting these robotic technologies and proposed future research directions for tendon tissue engineering are discussed.