'Living robot' developed by scientists using frog embryos

See the world's first living self-healing robots

Team Builds the First Living Robots

"At the moment though it is hard to see how an AI could create harmful organisms any easier than a talented biologist with bad intentions could", said the researchers' website. They can walk and swim, survive for weeks without food and work together in groups. They're a new class of artifact: a living, programmable organism, according to computer scientist and robot expert at the University of Vermont, Joshua Bongard.

Using this technique, the team created a number of the living robots and watched as they were able to successfully push other objects around. "They have never existed on Earth before, they are living and programmable organisms".

It is worth noting that these living bots do not look like regular mechanically actuated metal/plastic machines. At the same time, however, these xenobots are remarkably lifelike in that they're comprised entirely of biological materials, feed off energy supplied by their cells, move with intent and even fix their injuries.

But we're getting a small ahead of ourselves. The millimeter-wide blobs act like living, self-healing robots. From delivering medicine to human bodies to clearing the oceans of microplastic, the new bots have the potential to change the world.

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Every design is then trialed in a virtual environment to see how well they move and whether the heart cells are beating. Further, these were structured into body forms and the cells began to function. An advanced version of the xenobots, perhaps aided with molecular nanotechnology or bioengineered bacteria, could convert unwanted materials into an inert, harmless form.

The most promising designs churned out by the computer were selected for testing.

When the cells run out of nutrients, the xenobots simply become a small clump of dead cells. According to reports, the University of Vermont conducted scientific research.

Scientists have created what they claim are the first "living robots": entirely new life-forms created out of living cells, foreign media reported on Tuesday.

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The xenobots were designed with the Deep Green supercomputer cluster at UVM using an evolutionary algorithm to create thousands of candidate body forms. The program was fed the basic rules about biophysics of what a single frog skin and cardiac cells were capable of.

If you're starting to panic at the idea of supercomputers designing living robots, you're not alone. The resulting organisms could move in a coherent fashion and explore their environment for days or weeks using embryonic energy stores.

They could move around in circles, collectively pushing pellets into a central location.

One option being explored is experimentation with targeted drug delivery. "We sliced the robot nearly in half and it stitches itself back up and keeps going", says Bongard. This form of "spontaneous habits cannot be anticipated from machines built with synthetic provides unless that habits used to be explicitly selected for at some stage in the kind assignment", wrote the authors in the paper.

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Hundreds of generations were created before the scientists picked a handful of designs to build in the lab using tweezers and cauterising tools to sculpt early stage skin and heart cells from the stem cells scraped from the frog embryos. "Absolutely that is a proof-of-thought paper, and there's peaceable so a lot of work to entire to make a selection up to predominant applications", she stated, including that there's "no Frankenstein memoir here".

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