World’s first living robots-Xenobots can reproduce; Scientists

Scientists based in the US came up with a revelation that the world’s first living robots named Xenobots can now reproduce. Xenobots have been called “the first-ever, self-replicating living robots” by experts earlier in their study and scientist say that they have a special feature that they can replicate themselves, CNN reported.

Xenobots are robots made from the stem cells of the Xenopus laevis, an African-clawed frog. Their size is less than a millimeter (0.04 inches) wide. The organisms unveiled in 2020 have the ability to move independently for about a week before running out of energy, are self-healing, and break down naturally.

Scientists from different universities said that they have found out a new biological process of reproduction that is entirely different from that in plants and animals. Scientists hope the new discovery will be an add-on in the field of medicine. 

Xenobots have the feature of sweeping up loose cells and swashing them into yet more clusters. These things move around in the dish and make copies of themselves,” said Prof Josh Bongard, of the University of Vermont, a co-author of the research.

“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,” Michael Levin, a professor of biology and director of the Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University said.

Josh Bongard, the lead author of the research said, “people think robots are metal and ceramic but it’s not so much what a robot is made from but what it does, which is acting on its own on behalf of people”. He highlighted the features of tiny organisms.

“This is something that’s never been observed before,” said Douglas Blackiston, Ph.D., a senior scientist at Tufts University and the Wyss Institute who worked on the study, and the study was published in the scientific journal PNAS.