Most of the time, science is a wonderful and awe-inspiring thing. But every once in a while, science can take a turn for the worse (which can be so creepy). This month, we can say for certain that a handful of scientists crossed that line when they created one of the world's first artificial lifeforms.
If you saw this cute little stingray during your beach vacation, you would never suspect it to be an artificial organism, right? But it is.
A semi-robot biohybrid stingray (another precursor to Blade Runner): https://t.co/E4iWFTXETo
— Josh Calder (@Geofutures) July 15, 2016
This semi-robotic stingray came to be when researcher Kit Kevin Parker saw his daughter become entranced while watching stingrays at the aquarium. Parker wondered if it might be possible for him to create a muscle that moved in much the same way.
— CES (@CES) July 17, 2016
The artificial stingray is made of a 3-D printed rubber body reinforced with a 3-D printed gold skeleton. They adapted heart cells from a rat to respond to light. The researchers also grew the cells on the rubber body in a specific pattern to mimic a real stingray's appearance.
— KQEDscience (@KQEDscience) July 12, 2016
The result is an artificial stingray that's fully capable of moving around its environment in response to light.
Prof. George Lauder & L. Mahadevan & postdoc, Valentina Di Santo, help build a stingray robot w/gold & rat muscles https://t.co/vAME67QSIs
— Harvard OEB (@HarvardOEB) July 13, 2016
Should we consider this a scientific miracle or some sort of horrible abomination? Personally, I think it's pretty cool, but then again, I am a science-fiction nerd.