Xenobot Babies: World’s First Living Robots Can Now Reproduce, Thanks To AI

Robots can now reproduce… sort of. While this may mark a groundbreaking scientific feat, we expect humans to absolutely freak out at this news. The first living robots, known as xenobots are able to reproduce in a fashion not seen in plants and animals.

The robots were created from the stem cells of the African clawed frog. Xenobots are roughly 0.4 inches wide and were first unveiled in 2020 after a series of experiments revealed their capabilities — including the ability to work in groups and to heal themselves.

CNN/Douglas Blackiston & Sam Kriegman

Meet the xenobots

Developed by scientists at the University of Vermont, Tufts University, and Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, the xenobots are now reproducing in a way unseen in any living being.

Douglas Blackiston & Sam Kriegman/ CNN

Josh Bongard from the University of Vermont told CNN that the xenobots made from 3,000 cells were able to replicate using “kinetic replication — a process never observed before but known to happen at the molecular level.

Essentially, this is an advanced way to reproduce. Add artificial intelligence in the mix, and the most effective way to facilitate such reproduction was found by the supercomputer. The C-shaped xenobots easily found tiny stem cells in a petri dish, then gathered hundreds of those inside its mouth.

Douglas Blackiston & Sam Kriegman/ CNN

In a few days, new xenobots were created from these cells. The PacMan-like C-shape thought out by artificial intelligence has a major role to play in such replication.

The study was published in PNAS on Monday and received funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

What do you think about this scientific feat? Let me know in the comments below. Should robots be allowed to reproduce? Don’t forget to keep reading my stories for the latest in technology and science.

Citation

Hunt, K. C. (2021, November 29). World’s first living robots can now reproduce, scientists say. CNN.

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RAZREXE

Data engineer by profession with the skill set of a hacker, and a tech writer during tea breaks :)