In 2020, a team of scientists from Tufts University in Massachusetts succeeded in creating xenobots, considered the first living robots, from frog embryonic cells. Spherical in shape and rarely exceeding a millimeter in size, these artificial organisms are composed of clusters of cells and have no digestive system or neurons. The Xenobots are also expected to decompose naturally in about two weeks.
At that time, the discovery of these new organisms was already considered a phenomenon in the world of scientific research. This was without relying on a new study published in late November in the PNAS, Which comes to provide unexpected and unusual information about their reproductive process.
Birth of “Baby Xenobot”
These creatures can actually reproduce themselves, we learn from Guardian, According to a new study by University of Vermont researchers, xenobots have a . It is possible “children” By sticking to independent cells and forming new clumps. This is called replication, more precisely “Kinetic self-replication”.
According to the British Journal, the team of researchers discovered this extraordinary process by observing active xenobots in pond water as well as in Petri dishes containing independent frog embryonic cells. Study co-author Professor Josh Bongard says that as they “swim” in this water, some xenobots collide with independent cells and then pile up. If this pile is large enough, it creates a new creature, a “baby xenobot”.
One small step for xenobots, one big step for science
The researchers point out that, typically, xenobots can only reproduce once. Nevertheless, he observed thanks to artificial intelligence systems that some of these living robots could replicate themselves over several generations if they had a C-shaped structure, such as video game character pac man, report good Guardian,
Although these xenobots seem to be straight out of a sci-fi movie, researchers are particularly excited about the future of these creatures in the world of research. Professor Josh Bongard hopes that they can be used to repair electrical circuits and he also ventures to imagine that they could one day be exploited to avoid the need for certain surgeries.
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