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Scientists Created a Cyborg Fish Powered by Beating Human Heart Cells

The cyborg fish.

The robo-human-fish features a simple pacemaker-like mechanism that autonomously regulates the frequency and rhythm of its contractions so the tail has a proper back-and-forth motion to propel it through the water.

Credit: Michael Rosnach, Keel Yong Lee, Sung-Jin Park, Kevin Kit Parker

The term cyborg conjures up images from Star Trek, RoboCop, and even The Six Million Dollar Man, and while we might get there someday, our first attempts at creating biohybrids are a lot simpler, but no less impressive, as demonstrated by this robotic fish powered by human heart cells.

The fish's design features a flexible tail that's covered in a layer of heart muscle cells (cardiomyocytes derived from stem cells) on each side. When the cells on one side contract, it pulls the tail in that direction, and when the cells on the other side contract, it pulls the tail in the opposite direction. But what's particularly interesting about this biohybrid is that the two layers of muscle cells are continuously triggering each other. When one side contracts, it causes the other side to stretch, and the stretching action opens a "mechanosensitive protein channel" that causes that side to contract, which in turn stretches the other side, and the process repeats.

From Gizmodo
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