Researchers have created an artificial jellyfish (right) dubbed "Medusoid" using rat heart tissue and silicone
The artificial jellyfish (right) dubbed "Medusoid" mimics the pumping action of a real jellyfish
Colorized image of the tissue-engineered jellyfish, "swimming" in a container of ocean-like saltwater (Image: Caltech and Harvard University)
Artistic rendering of the process of reverse-engineering a jellyfish showing the different stages of analyzing and “dissecting” a juvenile Aurelia sp. jellyfish in order to design and build a tissue-engineered jellyfish (Image: Janna Nawroth - Caltech)
Top: Comparison of real jellyfish and silicone-based Medusoid. Bottom: Comparison of muscle architecture in the two systems, including macroscopic view superimposed onbody (left) and close-up on striated muscle contractile fibers (right) (Image: Janna Nawroth - Caltech)
Swim strokes in jellyfish and Medusoid. In both systems, the power stroke accelerates the fluid and generates thrust (right, top). This could also be used for pumping fluid. The recovery stroke generates a vortex that draws fluid towards the bell (right, bottom). This vortex helps jellyfish capture their prey (Image: Janna Nawroth - Caltech)
Having roamed the seas for at least 500 million years and holding the title of the oldest multi-organ animal on the planet, jellyfish have certainly stood the test of time. So it’s probably not surprising to see various research groups looking to the gelatinous, umbrella-shaped animals for inspiration in a number of areas, including the development of ocean-going robots. Now researchers at Harvard University and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) looking to gain a better understanding of how biological pumps such as the heart work, have created an artificial jellyfish from rat heart muscle and silicon.
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