Based on an evolutionary algorithm, these beings are half animal (frog), half robot and are the first living self-replicating robots in history.
These millimeter-sized living robots, called Xenobots 3.0, are not traditional robots, but programmable living organisms. Made from living cells obtained from African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis ) embryos, computer-designed organisms created by a team of four American scientists gather individual cells within a ‘mouth’ reminiscent of the Pac-Man video game. and they release ‘babies’ that look and move like their parents.
They are synthetic life forms that, despite their frog genome, are not frogs. The way to reproduce is by kinematic replication; something that has been seen at the molecular level, but never on this scale. The computer-based design allowed a vital configuration so that these living robots can perform tasks such as moving, pushing or transporting objects. The AI ran billions of simulations to arrive at the configuration that ultimately worked.
These self-replicating living robots represent promising research for advances toward regenerative medicine, according to scientists, as they could enable more direct and personalized drug treatment for traumatic injuries, birth defects, cancer, aging and much more.
“If we knew how to tell collections of cells to do what we want them to do, ultimately, that’s regenerative medicine, that’s the solution for traumatic injury, birth defects, cancer and aging,” he says. Michael Levin of Tufts University and a co-author of the work.
Referencia: Kinematic self-replication in reconfigurable organisms
Sam Kriegman, Douglas Blackiston, Michael Levin, and Josh Bongard
PNAS December 7, 2021 118 (49) e2112672118; https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2112672118
Edited by Terrence J. Sejnowski, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA, and approved October 22, 2021 (received for review July 9, 2021)