In DepthRobotics

Heartmaker's next step: a ray ‘biohybrid’

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Science  08 Jul 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6295, pp. 110-111
DOI: 10.1126/science.353.6295.110

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Kevin Kit Parker wants to build a human heart. His young daughter loves the New England Aquarium in Boston. Now father's and daughter's obsessions have combined in an unlikely creation: a nickel-sized artificial stingray whose swimming is guided by light and powered by rat heart muscle cells. Incorporating advances in engineering, cell culture, genetics, and biomechanics, the "living" robot brings Parker's dream of a humanmade human heart a step closer. The stingray represents a step up from his previous effort, a robotic jellyfish, as the new robot can be maneuvered around obstacle courses with beams of light. But there's a long way to go to make larger biohybrids that can work in the natural environment, and an even longer way before Parker can really build his heart.