The first living robots, designed by computer and built from stem stells, have started to reproduce, claim scientists.
According to a media report, US researchers programmed a supercomputer in 2020 to come up with blueprints for entirely new organisms using virtual skin and heart cells.
The researchers then built in real life.
It has been reported that the microscopic animal-machine hybrids, dubbed ‘xenobots’ could move on their own, and remain “alive” for weeks powered by their embryonic energy stores.
The scientists now claim that if the xenobots are placed in a petri dish with embryonic frog stem cells, the bots sweep the cells up into little round piles which morph together into new organisms and also begin to move.
The process is known as kinematic replication.
This has been seen in molecular machines but never at higher levels of biology.
According to the report, multicellular organisms typically reproduce by splitting, budding, or giving birth.
The scientists after discovering the bots that could reproduce went back to the computer to design a better shape for reproduction, eventually coming up with an organism resembling Pac-Man, the 1980s arcade game.
The robots are reportedly built from living cells using tiny forceps.
The researchers videoed the ‘c-shaped’ parents collecting the cells in their ‘mouths’ before building the ‘offspring’ from the loose cells in an entirely new form of biological reproduction different from any animal or plant, known to science.
CNN quoted Professor Michael Levin of Tufts University, Massachusetts, as saying: “I was astounded by it.”