A mechanical skull has been developed by scientists at the University of Pittsburgh to separate a chicken by using a process known as mechanotrypis.
The team reports its work in the Nov. 15 issue of the journal Nature Communications.
The technology could also be used to separate chickens by simply removing the membrane covering their brains, said lead author Richard Siegel, a postdoctoral fellow in the biomedical engineering department at the university.
The membrane, the team says, acts as a kind of glue that prevents the membranes surrounding the chicken from clumping together.
If a chicken’s membranes are separated, it’s easier to get a clear view of the chicken’s brain.
A clear view allows a veterinarian to make a more accurate diagnosis and the animal can then be moved to a safer area.
“This is an amazing achievement in separating the brain from the body,” said co-author and graduate student Ryan Wojcik, a graduate student at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
“We have a new method to separate the brain and the body and get rid of the membrane that prevents us from separating the chicken.”
The team is using a small piece of copper to make the membrane, which is placed in the mouth of a chicken.
When the chicken opens its mouth to swallow, the copper causes the membrane to stretch, and it’s pushed out.
The researchers then attach a small magnetic probe to the probe to create a magnet field, which creates a tiny magnetic field inside the chicken.
When the chicken swallows, the magnetic field creates an electrical current that sends a current to the copper wire inside the mouth.
The current travels through the chicken membrane and into the chicken brain, where it separates the chicken into two separate organs.
“The chicken is separated from its own body, but it’s also separated from the chicken that is going to eat it,” Siegel said.
The team’s next step is to develop an artificial muscle to control the chicken by pushing a magnetic button on the underside of the device.
“There’s an incredible amount of potential in this system that we haven’t even thought about yet,” said Siegel.
“It’s a very exciting time in the development of artificial muscles.”