Researchers from The University of Vermont and Tufts University extracted stem cells from Xenopus laevis to jointly create the world’s first “living robots” and named them “Xenobots,” which shocked the world.
Burlington, VT (Merxwire) – Xenobots are not robots in the traditional sense, nor are they a known animal species, but living robots. Scientists define it as “programmable organisms.” Researchers obtained stem cells from embryos of Xenopus laevis and used supercomputers to design specific shapes that have never appeared in nature.
Xenobots first appeared in January 2020. From the perspective of cell structure, the first generation of Xenobots reorganized the skin and heart cells of Xenopus laevis, allowing the heart cells to contract at the bottom layer to realize the movement of the robot. Xenobots are less than 1 millimeter in width and can move within the human body in the manner of “walking” and “swimming,” and they can work together to complete tasks.
In the past year, scientists have upgraded Xenobots. Compared with the first generation, the second generation Xenobots can not only realize the autonomous combination of single cells but also move faster, and the message function and self-heal ability are also greatly enhanced. According to research, Xenobots can recover from “fatal injuries” in just 5 minutes, and their life span has increased from several weeks to several months.
Features of Xenobot
The latest research results were published in “Science Robotics” on March 31st, US time. Studies have shown that Xenobot can be used to clean up radioactive waste, collect plastic particles in the ocean, carry drugs to the human body, and enter arteries to remove plaque. In addition, Xenobot can also help scientists further understand cell biology, thereby contributing to human health and longevity.
Because Xenobots have self-heal capabilities, in the future, it may be possible to create 3D biological forms as required to repair human defects or later diseases. For example, reprogram tumors into normal tissues, induce tissue regeneration in wounds, etc. These will have a huge impact on regenerative medicine.