Living Robots are among us! Ex-Machina lives!
Okay, maybe it’s not that crazy – but check this out.
Scientists have created the world’s first living robots out of frog stem cells, according to new research. These tiny “new lifeforms” are able to be programmed to “deliver miniature payloads that could one day be medicines inside a patient’s body,” the Guardian reports.
The living robots are a combination of heart and skin stem cells from the African clawed frog. Oh dear…and they are called “xenobots.”
Cue the ethical questions about creating “new lifeforms” or as some might say, “playing God,” versus their potential for medical and environmental applications.
The scientists combined skin and heart cells taken from the embryos of African clawed frogs into 3D shapes designed by artificial intelligence.
“These are entirely new lifeforms. They have never before existed on Earth,” study co-author Michael Levin told the Guardian. “They are living, programmable organisms.”
The living robots, called “xenobots” after the clawed frog’s Latin name, measure 0.04 inches and have enough energy inside them to keep moving for seven to 10 days before calling it quits.
(In my b-a-n-a-n-a-s voice) What is going on?!