Can you create life on a printer? You can now.
Scientists have created hybrid-life by engineering rat heart cells on a gold skeleton to create a beast that swims like a stingray.
You could call it a “raybot”. This half animal, half machine can be guided through an obstacle course with pulse of light. Is it alive? Well it depends on what your definition of life is. The answer is complicated. If it looks like a fish and swims like a fish, it might be a artificial fish with life like tendencies.
Why do we need franken-fish?
An artificial stingray has no particular specific use as a franken-fish, but this kind of research is fundamental to engineering special-purpose creations like artificial worms that stalk and snack on cancer. Or bionic replacement body parts for people who have lost them (or damaged them) in accidents or disease. Imagine having little biobot swimmers in your body that swarm to the site of a medical emergency such as a heart attack. Sensitized robot soft tissue could operate without the need for metal components or hard-plastic exoskeletons.
The research which uses modified rat heart cells, could be used to create technologies to make replacement human hearts as well.
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