Scientists Have Built Microscopic Robots That Can Reproduce

An expert team of scientists from the University of Vermont (UVM) have discovered a groundbreaking form of reproduction for computer-designed organisms (CDOs). In this process, robots ingest single-cell organisms and reproduce mini-robots that both look and move like them, according to a university press release.

Last year ‘xenobots’ were released to the world, a whole new form of life created by scientists. The below video is a quick reminder of how the cells were made from a frog embryo.

Once the scientists developed these cells they were able to activate new motors and sensors on them and produce them faster. However, there was quite a huge roadblock, cell death. After just a few days the cells inside the 0.7-mm organisms began to die.

So the team not to be defeated so easily pondered on whether it’s possible to get the organism to reproduce. They asked this question in the form of an evolutionary algorithm to the Deep Green Supercomputer cluster at the UVM. Billions of different shapes were tested and after months of analysing the computer came up with a design very similar to Pac-Man.

The team got to work and created Pac-Man shaped ‘parent’ xenobots. They examined their behaviour in a petri-dish and noticed that these bots swam out to individual cells gathering hundreds at a time and have a few days these cells were transformed into “baby xenobots’” that acted like their parents.

Lead author of the study, Sam Kriegman said ​​”Then those parents built children, who built grandchildren, who built great-grandchildren, who built great-great-grandchildren, these are frog cells replicating in a way that is very different from how frogs do it. No animal or plant known to science replicates in this way,” he added.

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