The world’s first living robots have been built using stem cells from frog embryos, in a strange machine-animal hybrid that scientists say is an ‘entirely new life-form.’
Dubbed ‘xenobots’ because they are constructed of biological material taken from the Xenopus laevis frog, the little bots are the first to be constructed from living cells.
Researchers are hopeful they could be programmed to move through arteries scraping away plaque, or swim through oceans removing toxic microplastic.
And because they are alive, they can replicate and repair themselves if damaged or torn.
“These are novel living machines,” said Dr Joshua Bongard, a computer scientist and robotics expert at the University of Vermont, who co-led the new research.
“They’re neither a traditional robot nor a known species of animal. It’s a new class of artifact: a living, programmable organism.”
Living organisms have often been manipulated by humans in the past, right down to their DNA code, but this is the first time that biological machines have been built completely from scratch.
Scientists first used the Deep Green supercomputer cluster at the University of Vermont to create an algorithm that assembled a few hundred virtual skin and heart cells into a myriad forms and body shapes, for specific tasks.
- reporter at TimWorld
- reporter at The New York Times
- studied at Columbia University in the City of New York
Reporter at The TimWorld. Prior to joining The Journal, he was a reporter for the New York Times for three years, specializing in breaking news and covering everything from hate crimes to holidays. He has degrees from Columbia University – (Graduate School of Journalism ) and the University of California Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.