‘Biohybrid’ Robot Stingray Powered by Light-Sensitive Rat Muscle Tissue

Published by , July 11, 2016 1:10 am

(Fortune) A team of Harvard engineers have unveiled a new “biohybrid” robot modeled on a stingray. The swimming robot is controlled by light cues and is constructed of a gold skeleton, two layers of silicon, and a mesh of genetically engineered rat muscles.
The use of rat muscle tissue was key to building the stingray robot, which would have been larger and less maneuverable if made from currently available electronics and motors. The muscle cells were modified using optogenetics, a recently pioneered genetic engineering method that makes cells light-sensitive. The muscles were shaped using geometric designs on the machine’s silicon superstructure. Researchers can control the robot’s movement with lights:

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