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Last Updated : Jan 21, 2020 08:29 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Xenobots: The first 'living robots' that can walk, swim and survive without food for weeks

These creatures can also be used by researchers to learn more about cell biology, helping in the research for human health.

Representational Image (Pexels)
Representational Image (Pexels)

Scientists have managed to create what reports have called the first "living robots", created out of stem cells from the species of aquatic frog found in parts of Africa.

Named Xenobots after the scientific name of the species (Xenopus laevis), these machines are less than a millimetre wide. In fact, according to CNN, they are small enough to travel in human bodies.

These machines, the report says, can walk, swim, survive without food for weeks and even work in groups. The University of Vermont, which conducted the research, said in a statement that these are basically repurposed living cells "scraped from frog embryos and assembled... into entirely new life-forms".

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These xenobots "can move toward a target, perhaps pick up a payload (like a medicine that needs to be carried to a specific place inside a patient) — and heal themselves after being cut", the statement said.

Designed on a supercomputer at the university, these new robots were then assembled and tested by biologists at Tufts University. According to CNN, these new creatures, though called as 'robots', don't exactly look like them. They look, instead, like blobs of pink moving flesh, according to the CNN report.

Xenobots are also safer than traditional robots, researchers have said. This is because they are more environment friendly and safer for human health.

"We can imagine many useful applications of these living robots that other machines can’t do," research co-leader Michael Levin from Tufts University said, adding that the Xenobots can search "nasty compounds or radioactive contamination" and also gather "microplastic in the oceans", among other things.

According to the CNN report, these creatures can also be used by researchers to learn more about cell biology, helping in the research for human health.

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First Published on Jan 21, 2020 08:29 pm
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