Researchers from the universities of Vermont, Tufts, and Harvard made the living robots. The scientific discovery was made by removing and incubating living stem cells from frog embryos. The living robots are called “xenobots” because the cells were taken from the embryos of the African clawed frog which is called xenopus.
These stem cells are capable of growing into different cells, such as brain cells, blood cells, and bone cells.
The same team published a study showing how xenobots could be programmed with the use of AI to behave in a particular way. They’ve also found that they are also capable of recreating themselves. Co-author Professor Michael Levin from Tufts University explains that the xenobots are not reproducing in normal biological ways. He said:
“This is not replication at the cellular level. The cells are not what’s replicating here. This is the replication of the bot itself. So the xenobots are making other xenobots.”
Levin added that what the cells can do is make copies of themselves – not just of individual cells, but of the whole organism.
Professor Michael Levin believes these swimming, cell gathering clusters can be used as robots to carry out microscopic repairs with further AI involvement.