Soon, we are told, our bloodstream will be teeming with “crab-like” microrobots gouging their way through arterial blockages.
These robots, we are also told, will be powered by the contraction of cloned rat muscles.
Sukho Park of Chonnam National University and a team of researchers affixed heart tissue from a rat onto the body of the robot. When the tissue contracted, the robot’s six horizontally aligned legs (see image above) pulled together. When the tissue relaxed, the legs drew apart. The pulses propelled the robot (video below) forward through a solution at 100 micrometers per second (about 0.0002 mile per hour).
The researchers hope to make other biocompatible devices that could one day carry clot-busting agents to clogged vessels. But the robot on that fantastic voyage will have to be faster and stronger than this prototype in order to force its way against flowing blood (which travels at about 2 mph).
But how does one translate this into a landscape application, we wondered. How would you spatialize this disembodied cardiac propulsion system? A colleague offered one possible scenario:
“Perhaps in the future immigrants found dead trying to cross the border might have their cardiac muscles culled which will then be reanimated in Wal-Mart-sized cloning facilities and implanted into lawnmowers and other garden implements.”
But how is this exactly different from the present exploitative aesthetic consumption practices of affluent suburbanites?
“In that future these affluent suburbanites will not have to lay their eyes on migrant labor.”