Scientists from two major research centers, Tufts University and the University of Vermont, have done a great job creating “living robots.” The first successes came a year ago, when they managed to create tiny machines based on frog cells. This was a great achievement. The bots could move, exhibit collective behavior, and move the payload. Not stopping at what has been achieved, the researchers developed the idea and created a new form of life.
The result is even more impressive. Xenobiotics of the new generation, called Xenobots 2.0, move faster, they do not need muscles to create movement, have the effect of recorded memory, can heal themselves, are more active, and live longer on their own embryonic energy. Examining their behavior in different conditions, scientists have discovered their ability to build a “new body”, endowed with colossal differences from the original. In this case, the genome remains unchanged.
The experiment clearly showed that cell groups can be surprisingly flexible, and the creation of a new structure can occur without a long evolutionary process. If you look at the Xenobots more closely, you can understand that, in general, they are arranged similarly to ordinary robots, and the main difference is that no mechanical components are used, but biological ones. Xenobiotics can perform simple tasks, but a supercomputer that can create and render their models can find the best use for them.
The device, properties and behavior of the second generation Xenobots are of great interest to science. But scientists look even deeper. Studying the Xenobots, one can understand how the simplest life on Earth in general originated, how unicellular organisms turned into multicellular ones. Understanding these complex processes is valuable not only from a scientific but also from a practical point of view. Having received answers to the questions of interest, science can take regenerative medicine to a new level.