Sunday, July 22, 2012
Artificial Jellyfish Swims Like the Real Thing: The duo and their colleagues stenciled out the ideal jellyfish shape on silicone, a material that would be sturdy but flexible, much like the jellyfish itself. They then coached rat muscle cells to grow in parallel bands on the silicone and encased the cells with a stretchy material called elastomer. To get their artificial jellyfish, or medusoid, swimming, the researchers submerged it in a salty solution and ran an electric current through the water, jump-starting the rat cells. The mimic propelled itself rapidly in the water, swimming as effectively as a real jellyfish, the researchers report online today in Nature Biotechnology.