Fake jellyfish so real it even swims | Science News


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Fake jellyfish so real it even swims

Constructed of silicone and heart cells, medusoid moves like the real thing

7:58am, July 23, 2012

Call it the Frankenjelly.

Scientists have created an artificial jellyfish that swims with the same synchronized body contractions used by real jellyfish. After analyzing the swimming dynamics and layout of tissues in the common moon jelly (Aurelia aurita), the scientists fashioned an umbrella-shaped frame with eight armlike structures out of an elastic silicone polymer. Then they seeded this frame with rat heart cells. Guided by minuscule patterning on the polymer, the rat cells grew into layers of muscle.

When the scientists let their creation, dubbed the medusoid, loose in a tank, the fake jellyfish’s muscles spontaneously began contracting. Applying an electric field spurred it int
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