Xenobots seem to be the new real deal in town, meaning living robots created using stem cells from a frog. The tiny xenobots have fantastic capabilities that would make envious those who write scripts for sci-fi movies, despite the size of the robots of just one millimeter wide. The robots can self-heal, work in a group, and more.
According to a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that IGN.com reveals about, xenobots are even capable of reproduction. But not just any reproduction as we can all observe in animals, humans, or plants. The tiny robots can do it in their own way, completely different from biological reproduction.
The reproduction took the scientists by surprise
Even the scientists responsible for developing the robots remained speechless when they found out that xenobots can reproduce. The small robots do it by harvesting loose stem cells and grouping them into piles so they can mature to become xenobots.
Michael Levin, director of the Allen Discovery Center from Tuffs University and also a professor of biology, declared as quoted by CNN:
Frogs have a way of reproducing that they normally use,
But when you … liberate [the cells] from the rest of the embryo and you give them a chance to figure out how to be in a new environment, not only do they figure out a new way to move, but they also figure out apparently a new way to reproduce.
Josh Bongard, the study’s lead author who’s also a robotics expert at the University of Vermont, explained as quoted by the same source:
The AI didn’t program these machines in the way we usually think about writing code. It shaped and sculpted and came up with this Pac-Man shape,
The shape is, in essence, the program. The shape influences how the xenobots behave to amplify this incredibly surprising process.
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