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First Living Robots Built, with Frog Cells

Weird science: tiny ‘xenobots’ assembled from frog cells are new man-made life forms which may be used for many purposes from “drug delivery” to “toxic waste clean-up.”

Scientists at the University of Vermont repurposed living frog cells assembling them into entirely new life-forms. The ‘xenobots’ can move toward targets and heal themselves after being cut.

The new living machines are something entirely new: living programmable organisms which are neither traditional robots nor any known species of animal.

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In the press release, Tufts University researcher and study co-author Michael Levin said the xenobots could hunt for “nasty compounds or radioactive contamination,” gather microplastics in the oceans, and travel inside “arteries to scrape out plaque.”

Just in case you doubted that 2020 would be weird and futuristic enough. So far they are only about a millimetre wide, but why stop there?

If a company can create a Snickers bar 43,000 times the size of normal, how long until Godzilla-sized xenobots fight all wars between countries?

Food for thought.

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