JUL 16, 2016 06:25 AM PDT
Scientists Create Robotic 'Fish' Powered by Heart Cells
WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch
2 9 225

Scientists working in collaboration at Harvard, Stanford and Sogang Universities were inspired by batoid fish such as stingrays to create a biohybrid system that gives an artificial animal, an engineered ray fish, the abilities to both swim as well as be guided by a light source, also known as phototaxis.

They put a layer of muscle cells, rat cardiomyocytes, onto an elastomeric body enclosing a microfabricated gold skeleton, thus replicating the morphology of fish at small scales.

Using optogenetics, a technique that utilizes light to control cells in live tissue, the engineered animal is capable of phototactic guidance, steering, and turning maneuvers, and optical stimulation which leads to coordinated swimming.

The researchers are able to change the speed and direction of the ray by altering light frequency and by independently controlling right and left fins, thus allowing their biohybrid machine to navigate through an obstacle course.
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