Now a group of scientists has repurposed living cells scraped from frog embryos and built them into entirely new life-forms. These millimetre-wide “xenobots” can move toward a goal, perhaps get a payload (such as a medicine that has to be transported to a particular place inside a patient), and then heal themselves after being cut.
The new creatures were created on a supercomputer in UVM, and then constructed and tested by biologists at Tufts University. Co-leader Michael Levin who directs the Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology at Tufts says, “We can envision many helpful applications of those living robots which other machines can not do, like looking out nasty chemicals or radioactive contamination, amassing microplastic from the oceans, traveling in arteries to scratch out the plaque.”
The results of the new research were published January 13 from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.