When we think of robots, we think of these huge and stiff metallic machines. However, a group of scientists are challenging the way we look at robots as they have developed what is being described as the world’s first living and self-healing robot which they made by using the stem cells of a frog.
Dubbed the xenobots (which was named after the African clawed frog whose stem cells they used), these are living robots that measure less than a millimeter wide, making them small enough where they can enter a human’s body. They are also capable of walking, swimming, working together in groups, and surviving without food for weeks.
According to Joshua Bongard, one of the lead researchers at the University of Vermont, “These are novel living machines. They’re neither a traditional robot nor a known species of animal. It’s a new class of artifact: a living, programmable organism.” One of the benefits of this design is that they are more environmentally friendly and safer for human health.
This is because according to the researchers, traditional robots tend to degrade over time and will produce harmful ecological and health side effects. Right now, there are various potential uses for the xenobots, such as cleaning up radioactive waste, collecting microplastics in oceans, delivering medicine inside of our bodies, or even scraping our arteries of plaque.