Scientists say they have followed the instructions of a supercomputer to make the very first “living robots” using stem cells harvested from frogs.
The living machines are less than a millimeter in size and can move, pick up and heal small objects, say researchers from the University of Tufts and the University of Vermont. They live seven to ten days and die after their job is completed.
But if you get Jurassic Park vibes from all that frog-jumping science, don't worry: they don't make dinosaurs. They make something completely different.
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“These are completely new life forms,” says project leader Michael Levin, director of the Allen Discovery Center and the Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology in Tufts.
“They are living, programmable organisms,” Levin told the Guardian. “They have never existed on earth before.”
The AI behind the designs used an “evolutionary algorithm” to recommend different cell configurations based on contracting skin and heart cells. These potential designs were carried out by means of a simulation, after which the scientists chose the best performing frog cells and built them up with surgical tweezers.
The living machines are named “xenobots” after the African claw frog (Xenopus laevis) that supplied the stem cells.
“They are neither a traditional robot nor a well-known animal species,” said robotics expert and co-leader Joshua Bongard in a news report from the University of Vermont.Tags: #ArtificialIntelligence, #latestNewsAI, #researchAi, #Robotics, AI