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.
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
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.
The Super Computer makes millions of versions of the Xenobot to determine what is the best outcome
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.