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Old 14th January 2020, 06:55 AM   #1
Armitage72's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 5,230
Self-Repairing Biological Microbots

Scientists at the University of Vermont and Tufts University have created millimeter-wide biological robots from frog stem cells, shaped by a supercomputer and capable of movement, self-repair, and coordinated action.

Scientists have created the world's first living, self-healing robots using stem cells from frogs.
Named xenobots after the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) from which they take their stem cells, the machines are less than a millimeter (0.04 inches) wide -- small enough to travel inside human bodies. They can walk and swim, survive for weeks without food, and work together in groups.
These are "entirely new life-forms," said the University of Vermont, which conducted the research with Tufts University.
Stem cells are unspecialized cells that have the ability to develop into different cell types. The researchers scraped living stem cells from frog embryos, and left them to incubate. Then, the cells were cut and reshaped into specific "body forms" designed by a supercomputer -- forms "never seen in nature," according to a news release from the University of Vermont.
Xenobots don't look like traditional robots -- they have no shiny gears or robotic arms. Instead, they look more like a tiny blob of moving pink flesh. The researchers say this is deliberate -- this "biological machine" can achieve things typical robots of steel and plastic cannot.
Xenobots could be used to clean up radioactive waste, collect microplastics in the oceans, carry medicine inside human bodies, or even travel into our arteries to scrape out plaque. The xenobots can survive in aqueous environments without additional nutrients for days or weeks -- making them suitable for internal drug delivery.

It reminds me a little of a novel I read, in which the author did research into actual nanotech research and featured nanobots that looked like starfish.
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