Creepy: Artificial Jellyfish created from Rat Heart

Biomechanics, tissue engineering and materials science have come a long ways in the last decade, as proven by the recent achievement by the would-be Doctor Frankensteins at Harvard University and the California Institute of Technology. Using the Medusa Jellyfish as their ‘model’, these genius scientists got to work on taking inanimate silicon and living cardiac muscle cells and transforming them into a strange ‘creature’ that somewhat looks and moves like a real jellyfish.

Why a jellyfish you wonder? The development of this “Medusoid”, as they call it, was a proof of concept for reverse engineering muscular organs and basic lifeforms, and was done as a way to help better advance the science behind tissue engineering and help better understand the inner-workings of muscular pumps. The long and short of why a jellyfish is simply that these marine animals moved and pumped in a similar way to the human heart pump, making them the perfect candidate.

The process of reverse engineering a jellyfish and creating an artificial one was obviously a complex process that required special analytical tools from the law enforcement field, such as biometric and crystallography tools. Based on their efforts they were able to incorporate silicone polymer that fashions the body of the strange artificial jellyfish and were also able to create the pump involved.

The bigger picture isn’t to create a bunch of jellyfish-like monsters, but instead to apply these learned concepts to other artificial organ design efforts. The researchers behind the Medusoid hope to continue to evolve this concept jellyfish and allow it to turn and move in a particular direction, give it simple intelligence capabilities to respond to the environment and more- though these are obviously tasks that are far away from the overall abilities of the Medusoid in its current form. With ambitious projects like this, it is only a matter of time before we can easily create fully functional organs that completely change the course of medical treatment and procedures as we know it.

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One Comment

  1. Very useful from a medical standpoint, but still exceedingly creepy.

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