Because some scientists can't wait for science fiction to become science fact, researchers at Harvard have created a cyborg stingray out of silicone and gold that can swim thanks to a layer of genetically engineered rat heart muscles on its underside. Mmmmm -- *picking between teeth* genetically engineered rat heart muscles.
The robo-stingray's muscles will start to contract only when flashed by a specific wavelength of bright light. This is done through a genetic engineering technique called optogenetics, which allows otherwise normal cells to respond to light. To guide his stingray, Parker merely has it follow a flashing, two-pronged light source. When the lights flash, the bot starts undulating. To have the stingray bank and turn, Parker need only flash one side of the stingray with a brighter, or more rapidly flashing light. Both will cause fins to stroke faster or more powerfully.
The bot can swim in a liquid that has suspended nutrients in it to keep the rat heart cells fed and alive. Even after 6 weeks, the stingray bot was still swimming with over 80 percent of its cells still alive and well.
Wow, even after 6 weeks more than 80 percent of its heart cells were still alive and well. That is impressive. Six weeks from today I will be at LEAST 40% more dead than I am right now, which, for the record, will make me 120% dead, or "deader than shit" like they say in the medical professional community. "Six feet under?" No way, I just want to be laid out on top of my grave to scare kids.
Keep going for a video of the thing actually swimming.
Thanks to Taylor, who's never made anything out of rat heart muscles but shepard's pie. God I love that stuff.