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Scientists Use A.I. To Create Microscopic Robots

Researchers in the US created a living microscopic robot! Xenobot is its name. They lovingly named it after the frog whose stem cells they harvested it from; the African clawed frog (Xenopus Laevis.) In addition, the Xenobot is less than 1 millimeter in size which means that it fits in a human body. Naturally, a robot made out of organic cellular matter makes more sense. This is because cells communicate to make tissue, which forms collaborating organs. So subsequentially they all make a whole body.

Xenobots may just look like little busy blobs scooting around in a field of liquid but they are more than that.  Firstly they are completely human-made but also use AI technology and therefore they can walk, swim and survive for weeks without food and even work together.

The funny thing is is that cells like to attach to other cells so when researchers dropped cellular debris onto the plain the blobs would herd around them in piles.  Flip it onto its back and it will flip itself back over turtle-style.

Microscopic Robot
image via youtube

We are in the age of cellular robots

Their behavior is kind of like flatworms, water bears or other microscopic creatures.    Except that these like I stated earlier, are not naturally occurring. Xenobot microscopic robots are made up of two things: Skin cells and heart cells from frogs.

The behavior of these microscopic robots helps scientists to unlock the puzzle of how cells communicate.  Biophysicist Michael Levin and co-author on the paper says:

    “What we’re very much interested in is the question of how cells work together to make specific functional structures.”  Once they start probing that unknown, they might even make headway on the more mysterious question of what else a cell might be willing to make. “

Scientists get a little help from A.I. Technology

  Probably one of the most interesting aspects of how the robots came about is the way that they were designed. Like all Microscopic things, they require a level of detail that is hard to design so, therefore, Experimentation was difficult.  In order to move these microscopic robots, scientists developed fancy algorithms to help them determine how to set up the cells in a way that would achieve a certain movement.
  They harvested stem cells from the frogs and separated them into heart cells which contract and skin cells which don’t.

A.I Experiments with Xenobot movement

As the Xenobots move around the scientists were able to watch the way that the cells arranged themselves.  All of this data was sent to a computer science center that was able to build a simulated environment that sought for new systems to manipulate the Xenobots layout and see if there were any new designs that could be more effective.

This advanced AI ran programs that imitated evolution.  In this way, natural selection was sped up to the max and allowed scientists to curtail millions of years to find the perfect design.  The entire program looked for possible changes to the Xenobots designs and searched for how these designs would work in real life.  Xenobot designs that passed the test were allowed to “evolve” and saw their lives on the research petri dish.

These adorable little blobs end up doing things, however, that are little frightening. They change movement sporadically, they move in a different way than their programming and when they find loose cells and debris they’ll herd them into little piles.

The Benefits of Soft Tissue Microscopic Robots

You see cells are communicating to make tissues.  This is a whole new field of robotics. Essentially scientists will be able to generate organic machinery with cells that are communicating and collaborating to make organs.  It will be like that movie Existenz with Jude Law.
Soft robotics has only been around for a decade or so.  Naturally, Robots have a hard time adapting. With that being said, soft and microscopic Xenobots, it will be much easier to adapt robots to the human body than “hard” robots because of their similar cellular makeup.

Written by Grand Hierophant

The Grand Hierophant

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