“Stingray Robot Uses Light-Activated Rat Cells to Swim”

By Charles Q. Choi, Live Science Contributor | July 8, 2016 01:17pm ET

                    A new robot stingray can swim with help from an unexpected source: muscle cells that were taken from rat hearts, a new study finds.

                       Understanding how to build machines from heart cells could lead to scientists being able to build entire living artificial hearts from muscle cells that would act more like natural hearts, the researchers said.

                      Stingrays and related fish have flat bodies with long wing-like fins. These fins undulate in waves that ripple from the front of the fins to the back, energy-efficient motions that help these fish glide through water.

                       Researchers sought to build a robot that emulates the stingray’s efficiency and maneuverability. When study senior author Kit Parker, a bioengineer at Harvard University, examined stingrays, he noted that the beating of their wings resembles the beating of hearts, which inspired him to use rat heart-muscle cells, he said.

The tissue-engineered soft-robotic ray next to a little skate (<em>Leucoraja erinacea</em>).
The tissue-engineered soft-robotic ray next to a little skate (Leucoraja erinacea).

Credit: Karaghen Hudson and Sung-Jin Park

                    The scientists began with skeletons that mimicked the shape of stingrays that were made of gold, which was chosen for its chemically inert nature. These skeletons were then covered with a thin layer of stretchy plastic and a thicker body of silicone rubber. On the top of the robot, the scientists placed muscle cells from rat hearts. When stimulated, these cells contracted, pulling the fins downward.

                    The scientists wanted to keep their robot light, so they wanted to avoid weighing it down with a second layer of cells to pull the fins back up. Instead, they designed the skeleton in a shape that stores some of the energy used to pull the fins down and releases it when the robot’s cells relax, allowing the fins to rise, they said.

                    The robot’s cells were also genetically engineered to react to light. The researchers used pulses of light to steer the robot to the left or right, and altered the wavelengths of light to control its speed. The scientists were able to control the robot well enough to   guide it through a simple obstacle course, with the machine swimming at a speed of about 0.06 inches (1.5 millimeters) per second over a distance of about 9.85 inches (250 mm).

                 Containing about 200,000 rat heart-muscle cells, the robot measures 0.63 inches (1.6 centimeters) long and weighs just 10 grams (0.35 ounces). The robot swims in a liquid that is loaded with sugar that serves as fuel, the researchers said.

              “It’s alive, but it’s not an organism — it can’t replicate, it can’t reproduce,” Parker told Live Science “We make them in batches of five or six, and they live about a week, maybe less.”

              Parker’s aim with this research “is to build replacement organs for sick kids,” he said. “Ultimately we want to build a whole heart. We’re already looking at building a robot based off another marine life-form to test our skill set a bit more.”


NOTE: You can read the original article at Live Science.

Link source: http://www.livescience.com/55330-stingray-robot-powered-by-rat-cells.html


“Concerns about the increasing use of robot and their role in the society”

The following are some concerns about this:

  •                        The increasing use of robots in the society had concerns in both advantage and disadvantage like that of people might lose their jobs which would cause an incresing rate in unemployment even if they can help us in our work and task being accomplished faster than before. They can also cause harm to us human especially when they would malfunction and explode or when they would have their own minds, it would think that they can replace humans with robots and many so.

Main articles: Roboethics and Ethics of artificial intelligence

  •                          As robots have become more advanced and sophisticated, experts and academics have increasingly explored the questions of what ethics might govern robots’ behavior, and whether robots might be able to claim any kind of social, cultural, ethical or legal rights.One scientific team has said that it is possible that a robot brain will exist by 2019.Others predict robot intelligence breakthroughs by 2050. Recent advances have made robotic behavior more sophisticated. The social impact of intelligent robots is subject of a 2010 documentary film called Plug & Pray.

                            Vernor Vinge has suggested that a moment may come when computers and robots are smarter than humans. He calls this “the Singularity“. He suggests that it may be somewhat or possibly very dangerous for humans. This is discussed by a philosophy called Singularitarianism.

                          In 2009, experts attended a conference hosted by the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) to discuss whether computers and robots might be able to acquire any autonomy, and how much these abilities might pose a threat or hazard. They noted that some robots have acquired various forms of semi-autonomy, including being able to find power sources on their own and being able to independently choose targets to attack with weapons.

                        They also noted that some computer viruses can evade elimination and have achieved “cockroach intelligence.” They noted that self-awareness as depicted in science-fiction is probably unlikely, but that there were other potential hazards and pitfalls.  Various media sources and scientific groups have noted separate trends in differing areas which might together result in greater robotic functionalities and autonomy, and which pose some inherent concerns.  In 2015, the Nao alderen robots were shown to have a capability for a degree of self-awareness. Researchers at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute AI and Reasoning Lab in New York conducted an experiment where a robot became aware of itself, and corrected its answer to a question once it had realised this. 

Link source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robot#Robots_in_society

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                     Rusel II B. Feliscuzo

                           BSIT III



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