January 01, 2022
Scientists from the University of Vermont, Tufts University and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, USA, have unearthed a radically new form of biological reproduction and applied it to build the world’s first living robots. The robots, named ‘Xenobots’ after the African clawed frog Xenopus laevis, can move, self-heal, coordinate and most recently, reproduce!
Xenobots have been assembled from the stem cells of a frog and were first reported in 2020. When they are placed in their tiny dish, Xenobots move about and gather hundreds of single cells. These clusters are then accumulated in their “mouths”. After a few days, new forms emerge that resemble Xenobots in appearance and function. These robots then repeat the process of searching for additional single cells, collecting them and reproducing.
Did You Know?
In about five days, Xenobots can form spheres of around 3,000 cells when they cluster.