A team of researchers from the University of Vermont (USA) reported that they were able to create the first robots in history from living cells. They consist of 500-1000 cells and are named xenobots. With a very modest size - no more than 1 mm - they are able to move around the Petri dish, transport goods to a certain place, for example, drugs, and also self-heal after damage.
According to the project participant, a specialist in the field of computer technology and robotics Joshua Bongard, “these are new living machines that are not ordinary robots and at the same time do not belong to the known species of animals. This is a new class of objects: a living programmable organism. "
According to scientists, the xenobots were developed using the UVM supercomputer and, after assembly, tested by biologists at Tufts University (USA).
Living cells of the African frog Xenopus Laevis embryos became the "building material" for the xenobots. Scientists were able to model them four "limbs" and a small depression in the middle, as a result of which they became something like an inverted stool a little larger than a pinhead. Xenobots are completely biodegradable and die off after 5-7 days and are easily disposed of.
According to the head of the Center for Regenerative Biology and Developmental Biology (USA) Michael Levin, in the future xenobots will be able to search for dangerous compounds, radioactive contamination, collect microplastics in the ocean, as well as clean human blood vessels.