Scientists Create Swimming Cyborg Stingray Out Of Rat Heart Cells, Gold, Silicone

July 11, 2016


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.

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