Amazing Artificial Jellyfish Made From Rat Hearts Can Propel Itself

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July 23 2012 1:27 PM

Amazing Artificial Jellyfish Made From Rat Hearts Can Propel Itself

They’ve reanimated muscle and tissue with electric shock, all in the name of Science?

Scientists have created an artificial jellyfish using rat heart muscles and silicon that, when given an electric shock, swims with synchronized contractions just like a real jellyfish.

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Kevin Kit Parker, a bioengineer at Harvard, co-authored a paper in the journal Nature Biotechnology, which describes the artificial jelly. Parker outlines how his team patterned the rat heart cells to act as actuators to move, pump, and flap, with a thin layer of silicone rubber to function as the organism—an impressive feat, and one that could change medicine.

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A shot of the artificial jellyfish made with muscle and tissue from rat hearts.

Dubbed Medusoid, the artificial creation may help scientists engineer better artificial hearts, which pump in a similar fashion. Whether or not we want rat hearts in our own bodies may eventually inspire debate, but the good news is Medusoid doesn’t sting. So put away that artificial urine.

Video by Jim Festante.

 

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