About BioMeld

Project BioMeld (full name: A Modular Framework for Designing and Producing Biohybrid Machines) is an EU-funded research project that focuses on bio-intelligent design and production of a biohybrid machine (BHM), a drug-delivery catheter, capable of accessing hard-to-reach areas of the human body.

This project is unprecedented, since it proposes a biointelligent manufacturing pipeline of BHMs that would be self-monitoring and self-controlling, which is a radically innovative approach. The breakthrough we propose is the addition of bio-intelligent production aspects via self-adapting communication between manufacturing cells. Feedback exchanged among these cells will ensure continuous optimization of production. Once developed, biointelligent production will accelerate the development of BHMs and speed up their practical application.



Develop a modelling and simulation framework for the digital design of BHMs.

Several modules of different abstraction level will be used for the BHM design.

  • The most abstract module is a 3D voxel-based simulator. Parameters for simple soft-body dynamics (like geometry, physical properties of materials, gravity, etc.) are the only constraints in this module. An evolutionary AI algorithm will be coupled with the simulator, in order to automate the generation of voxel-based “sketches” of the catheter.
  • Additional modules (rotation, electric-stimulus response, bending dynamics, etc.) will use this output as a template, but will add chemical and physical constraints to make the template more precise.

After these modelling and simulation steps have been completed, we will have a set of production specifications that can be forwarded to a manufacturing unit.


Fabricate a set of BHM-based modules for a reconfigurable modular catheter.


  •  skeletal-muscle cells as actuators, which are fabricated using 3D bioprinting technology and then assembled onto flexible support materials.
  • a bioreactor, which will maintain cell viability within the BHM lifespan.

The catheter will be remotely navigated using magnets, which is why the magnetic part of the catheter will be a composite made of a polymeric matrix and magnetic powder or micro/nano particles.


  • electrodes, which will provide local stimulation for living cell actuators, 
  • flexible strain sensors, which will give real time feedback on actuator motion.


Validate the

Ensure that assumptions, algorithms, and results of the computer model correlate with the manufactured device. In order to do this, we will compare simulation results with the behaviour of the synthesized BHM and conduct error propagation analysis from simulation outputs to observed behaviour.


Construct the demonstration BIMC (bio-intelligent manufacturing cell)

The final goal of this project is to establish an effective BHM fabrication process that can be adapted and reproduced. This process will integrate biology-inspired mechanisms, thus ensuring flexibility, autonomy, and evolvability.

The integration of BHM characterization and simulation data will provide iterative improvement of the catheter, which will result in bidirectional communication from AI-powered design to BHM manufacturing and vice versa. Data on validation tests and analyses will be stored in a shared repository. This architecture will ensure continuous interaction among manufacturing cells, so that one cell’s learned adaptation can be communicated with other cells, which can adapt accordingly.


The BioMeld project relies heavily on multidisciplinarity and integration of methodologies from medicine, biology, mathematics, computing, chemistry, and materials science. This approach will ensure production streamlining. On one hand, we have to develop the computational part of our platform, which we will do by merging different disciplines from computer science (UNSPF, UWE Bristol), namely evolutionary algorithms, agent-based modelling, neural networks, and analytical simulations.

On the other, we will simultaneously work on the development of our biohybrid catheter, which will require expertise in materials science (to construct the catheter; SSSA), biomimetic actuators and cell physiology (to integrate 3D muscle cells constructs with the catheter; IBEC), organic electronics (to integrate catheter with sensors and remote controllers; UNICA), and 3D printing (to manufacture the catheter; IBEC). After it has been synthesized, the biohybrid catheter will be tested using microfluidic lab-on-a-chip technology (IBEC).

What sets this project apart is that computer scientists from UNSPF and UWE Bristol will closely collaborate with experimental groups from SSSA, UNICA, and IBEC, in order to build a realistic model of the catheter and validate the methodology. This bidirectional collaboration is paramount, since the first version of the catheter will be used to calibrate the computational framework, whereas the outputs of thus calibrated framework will be used to improve catheter design and manufacturing.

The entire pipeline will then be integrated into a manufacturing cell where expertise in industrial design is necessary (SS).

Expected impact

Successful completion of project BioMeld and its operational biointelligent manufacturing cell (BIMC) will benefit biotechnology SMEs and manufacturers. Our entire manufacturing pipeline will be based on open standards and will be accessible to all who want to use our or develop similar pipelines when designing biohybrid machines.

The results will also provide significant contribution to the scientific community in the fields of biohybrid robotics and soft robotics.

With its ultimate goal of extending life, our catheter will benefit those that need it the most – patients and their surgeons.