World's first 'living robots' are made from the stem cells of frogs

World's first 'living robots' are made from the stem cells of frogs

Then, the Tufts team assembled and tested the design using stem cells from the African frog species Xenopus laevis - the xenobot name comes from this frog, not the Greek prefix meaning other or stranger.

Scientists at the University of Vermont and Tufts University have created what they claim is the world's first living robot. They did it using a supercomputer.

Plus, these new robots can heal themselves after being cut, giving them a longer life span.

"These are novel living machines", University of Vermont computer scientist and robotics expert Joshua Bongard said.

Neither a robot nor an animal, xenobots use living cells to create a programmable machine that could one day clean up toxic waste.

This makes the "birth" of an entirely new living organism previously unknown to mankind.

The xenobots may probably be used towards a number of duties, in response to the research, which was partly supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a federal company that oversees the event of expertise for navy use. By working together in a group, the robots can survive for weeks without any food. But those robots may not have any metal components if some researchers have their way.

Sam Kriegman, a doctoral student and lead author, used a computer algorithm to design thousands of mockups for these new artificial life-forms.

Creation How they created these bots? And just as evolution works in the natural world, the least successful forms would be deleted by the computer program.

The report says the bots are proof of a way to design "completely biological machines from the ground up".

"These xenobots are totally biodegradable - once they're finished with their job after seven days, they're simply useless pores and skin cells", stated Professor Bongard.

The algorithm reassembled a few hundred simulated cells into myriad forms and body shapes, over and over, in an attempt to achieve a task assigned by the scientists - like locomotion in one direction.

Levin and his colleagues began to co-design their xenobots with the help of the cells themselves and some nice algorithms.

The second part of the research then saw a microsurgeon and other researchers turn those designs into real life. After that, the researchers cut and reshaped the cells into particular "body forms".

The cells later started to work on their own. The resulting organisms could move in a coherent fashion and explore their environment for days or weeks using embryonic energy stores. Although Xenobots are now relatively harmless, there are potential uses in the future for incorporation into nervous system cells or development in biological weapons.

If you're starting to panic at the idea of supercomputers designing living robots, you're not alone.

These are entirely new lifeforms. But they also can create ecological and human health problems, like the growing scourge of plastic pollution in the oceans and the toxicity of many synthetic materials and electronics. We slice [a xenobot] nearly in half and it stitches itself back up and keeps going. The researchers admit that there is the danger that such developments could be harnessed in ways that we don't even understand, leading to unintended consequences.

Related Articles