Discovery of the first living robots built by American scientists capable of producing offspring. These robots, called xenobots, reproduce in a completely different way from living organisms. CNN has reported on robots capable of self-breeding.
Xenobots are made from the stem cells of African cloud frogs. They are only about a millimeter in size. These were first published by researchers in 2020. Xenobots have the ability to travel in groups, work together, and heal themselves. The function of xenobots is quite different from that of any other species in the wild.
The robot was developed by the University of Vermont, Tufts University and the Weiss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. ‘It was shocking knowledge. Frogs have their own ways of breeding. But the cells that were isolated and released from the embryos reacted quite differently. They found new ways not only to travel but also to reproduce, ” said Michael Levine, a professor of biology at Tufts University and co-author of the new study.
Robot or creature?
Sperm cells are capable of transforming into different cells. Xenobots were built by researchers to allow sperm cells extracted from frog embryos to hatch freely. None of these were genetically modified.
‘When one hears of a robot, one generally thinks of it as an object made of metal or some other synthetic material. In fact, robots are determined by their actions. At the same time, Xenobots are not robots, as I said earlier. They are not genetically modified microorganisms, “said Josh Bogard, a robotics expert who led the study.
The xenobots built in the first phase were spear-shaped. But these xenobots were rarely reproduced.
With the help of artificial intelligence, the researchers looked at what shape xenobots are capable of reproducing. That’s how C-shape, similar to Pacman’s famous computer game of the 80’s, was identified as the best. When in shape, the xenobots collect hundreds of tiny sperm in their mouths. In a few days, this group of germ cells will turn into a new xenobot.
The shape of the xenobots itself is considered to be the main feature. Researchers describe xenobots as an early technology that is still immature. They are comparable to computers in the 1940s, with no idea how to use them in practice. Research on the Xenobot is being funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is developing technologies that can be used for military purposes. The study is published in the scientific journal PNAS.
English Summary: World’s first living robots can now reproduce, scientists say