Jellyfish Hints at Fix for Damaged Hearts - WSJ.com
Ottway Ducard stashed this in Science
The engineers used a silicone polymer to build a centimeter-long jellyfish consisting of a membrane with eight armlike appendages. They overlaid muscle cells, obtained from a rat heart, on this membrane in a particular pattern. "We coaxed them to self-organize so that they matched the [muscle] architecture of a jellyfish precisely," Dr. Parker said.
The robot, named "Medusoid," was placed in salty fluid that can conduct electrical currents. When the engineers oscillated the voltage in the fluid, the muscle-coated membrane began to contract in a synchronized manner. (By contrast, a real jellyfish obtains nutrients by feeding on plankton, eggs, larvae, small fish and other jellyfish, which then enables specialized tissue to electrically activate the muscular contraction.)