MDDI Online is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Bringing Fish Morphology, Animal Cells to Heart Project

    Arrow  back Robots Stingray Wyss

What do you get when you cross a robotic stingray with rat cells? A Harvard University researcher got what he hopes will help him build a human heart.

Professor Kevin "Kit" Parker  and his team drew on fish morphology, neuromuscular dynamics, and gait control to develop a living, biohybrid, stingray-shaped robot. They reverse-engineered stingray musculoskeletal structure using four-layered architecture, and cast the 3-D elastomer body in a titanium mold. To make the skeleton, they thermally evaporated gold, and produced a thin interstitial elastomer layer via spin-coating. Finally, they added a layer of aligned rat cardiomyocytes, which they anchored with a connective glycoprotein called fibronectin.

They tissue-engineered muscles, and designed the ray's integrated sensory-motor system to mimic the undulating swimming movements of rays found in nature, and added photovoltaics so they could control those movements with light. According to a report in Science, their stingray swam faster and further than existing locomotive biohybrid robots, and maintained its speed for six days.

Continue >>

[Image courtesy of Harvard University's Wyss Institute]

500 characters remaining