Researchers have developed a new kind of synthetic creature, using the heart cells of a rat to make a robotic stingray that follows light.
Created by bioengineer Kit Parker from the Wyss Institute at Harvard University. The cyborg stingray, which weighs just 10 grams and is only about the size of a small coin, is made from a gold skeleton overlaid with a thin layer of stretchy polymer. This body, designed to emulate the shape and fins of a real ray, is coated in approximately 200,000 living rat heart cells, called cardiomyocytes.
These muscle cells were genetically engineered to respond to light cues, to prompt the fin movements that help propel the robot through water. When stimulated by light, the cardiomyocytes contract and push the fins downwards.
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Sofia Martinez Vilalpando