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News archive 2012

Cyborg jellyfish as heart muscle?

By July 23, 2012#!31Wed, 16 Dec 2020 17:42:52 +0200+02:005231#31Wed, 16 Dec 2020 17:42:52 +0200+02:00-5+02:003131+02:00x31 16pm31pm-31Wed, 16 Dec 2020 17:42:52 +0200+02:005+02:003131+02:00x312020Wed, 16 Dec 2020 17:42:52 +02004254212pmWednesday=187#!31Wed, 16 Dec 2020 17:42:52 +0200+02:00+ 02:0012#December 16th, 2020#!31Wed, 16 Dec 2020 17:42:52 +0200+02:005231#/31Wed, 16 Dec 2020 17:42:52 +0200+02:00-5+02:003131+02:00x31# !31Wed, 16 Dec 2020 17:42:52 +0200+02:00+02:0012#No Comments

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Scientists have developed a real cyborg jellyfish. The 'animal' is made of a solid element, but can move just like a real jellyfish thanks to real, living muscle cells.

The cyborg jellyfish is the work of scientists from the Wyss Institute from Harvard University and the California Institute of Technology. They call their cyborg jellyfish Medusoid.

The researchers first studied the jellyfish extensively. They determined what their muscles look like and where they are, how the jellyfish's bodies contract to move, and so on. Once the researchers had gathered all that information, they could start designing an artificial jellyfish.

The jellyfish was made of elastic material that resembles the material that real jellyfish are made of. Then a pattern made of proteins was placed on it. This pattern determined the growth and organization of heart muscle cells. The researchers obtained the heart muscle cells from rats. Although these muscles were no longer in a rat's body, they remained able to contract.

The researchers hope that their study will eventually contribute to the treatment of heart disease. A jellyfish moves because its muscles contract and so those muscles work in a similar way to the human heart. If we are able to replicate a jellyfish, we may also be able to mimic the function of a heart. And that benefits people with heart disease. But there are more possibilities. The researchers want to ensure that at some point Medusoid can also start looking for food itself. This can lead to the construction of systems that themselves look for 'food' in order to continue to function. This would mean that the batteries of a pacemaker, for example, do not need to be replaced every few years. Instead, the pacemaker itself looks for means to keep it running.

The full research on the cyborg jellyfish can be found in the magazine Nature Biotechnology.

At BNR radio, a video image to see this jellyfish.