In a new study published in the Proceedings of the American Academy of Sciences, scientists claim that they have created a “robot live“First. The device is made up of frog embryonic cells and can be programmed to function.
It could be said to be a completely new life form, something that goes beyond the concept of a hybrid robot. The study authors claim that this is the first time that humans have built a 100% biological machine.
“Those are really new machines“, Joshua Bongard, research author from the University of Vermont said.”They are not a robot in the traditional definition way, nor are they a newly discovered animal. These robots are classified as a new artifact: a living creature that can be programmed to function. “
The device is made up of frog embryonic cells and can be programmed to operate.
Initially, the idea of creating this creature was run on supercomputers by scientists. Later, its blueprints were given to biologists to create the creature. It is like a person who draws a machine on AutoCAD software, then the engineers will be responsible for casting out each of the gears, screws assembled into it.
This field of study can pave the way for many practical applications. Biological robots, for example, can be used to transport drugs inside a person’s body. Imagine you need to take chemotherapy drugs to the exact location of a cancer tumor in a patient.
In addition, biological robots can also be used to scrape off plaque in the artery walls for us. It can also collect microplastics in the ocean, or even radioactive waste.
“We can imagine many useful applications from these living robots, they can do things that ordinary machines cannot do.“, Says Michael Levin, director of the Center for Regeneration and Biological Development at Tufts University, where the robot was created.
However, Levin acknowledges that humans creating a new life form also carries a lot of risks. Imagine, if one day these biological machines developed enough sophistication, they could multiply, reproduce and become a new species. Robots can even get into the nervous system and take control of our brains.
Robots can even get into the nervous system and take control of our brains.
A life form, a whole new artifact
It can be seen that ever since human beings appeared on Earth, we have continuously affected life on the planet. The creation of new life shows that we have even gone beyond the box God has put us down.
In recent years, biology has continuously made leaps and bounds, with gene editing technology and the ability to create completely new, unclassified organisms.
The new research by Tufts University and the University of Vermont continues to mark a new milestone, because this is the first time we have created a completely biological machine, it is not a creature, not a robot and nor a biological hybrid, it is a biological robot from start to finish.
To do this, biologists had to use a supercomputer to design and run thousands of potential virtual models of new life forms. It is like a virtual evolutionary environment, allowing scientists to speed up time and create a perfect biological machine to perform specific tasks.
For example, when scientists want to create an optimal biological machine for tasks that require a lot of mobility, they will put parameters into supercomputers to try out hundreds of different biological designs. .
The blueprints use cells as raw materials, and it will create robots of different shapes, biologically viable, that can be transferred to scientists working in the field of biology. It creates them in real life.
From the biologically feasible designs drawn by supercomputers, we can create 100% real-life biological robots.
Just as engineers need to choose the type of steel to create their mechanical machine, biologists must also choose the materials to create the biological machine. And in this first study, they chose the stem cells of the African frog frog Xenopus laevis.
The cells are extracted directly from the embryos of the frogs. They will then be incubated, before the biologists use microsurgical devices to cut and arrange 500-1,000 cells together into machine parts that follow the blueprint that the supercomputer has chosen.
That means, scientists have actually tied together organic materials, to create a form of life never seen before in nature.
“Once you look at the cells we are using to make biological robots, you will genetically see them as frogs. It is 100% frog frog – but they are not frog“, Levin said.
“As we have shown, these frog cells can be driven to evolve to create interesting life forms, complete with our anatomical foundation today. “
And after the biological machines were created, they started working together. As supercomputer predicted, the robots can move on their own. They lived, explored and worked for several weeks, drawing energy from the nutrients that scientists learn Preloaded included lipit and protein.
The initial job is very simple, just pushing some targets around. However, these robots have to organize their own work together, such as whether they have to decide whether to push a goal or contribute their efforts together.
These robots must organize their own work together, such as whether they have to decide whether to push a target or contribute to each other.
Creativity opens a new era
From these early successes, scientists think they will be able to create even more complex versions of biological robots. Computer simulation shows a possible design for robots that have a bag on them.
The bag can be used to carry an object, such as a medicine and a robot, that will swim in the bloodstream to deliver medicine to a tumor in the body.
Scientists believe that biological robots made from living materials can make big changes in the way humans exploit technology. That’s because biological robots can regenerate, and decompose completely after they die.
In the experiment, the scientists tried to destroy the robot by cutting it in half, but what they observed was that the robot completely healed its wounds.
After the nutrients are used up, the robot stops working and becomes a small clump of dead cells. They begin to degrade and do not generate technological waste like plastic or metal robots.
Like all other groundbreaking technologies in the field of biology, the development of a new form of life like these bio robots has always had bioethical problems. Scientists at Tufts University did not avoid this problem at all.
They acknowledged that their creation could start an awful era with unpredictable biological robot applications.
Computer simulation shows a possible design for robots that have a bag on them.
Robots can be developed into biological weapons. And if they develop interactions with the nervous system, there’s a scary scenario that they can even take control of other creatures like us.
“Our research is actually promoting a solution to address people’s fears about these unforeseen consequences.“He said that we should begin to build the legal foundations and rules to control the new field of biotechnology related to biological robots.”
If this field develops to a certain level of sophistication, humans will no longer be able to predict what will come, and how these living robots will behave.
Fortunately for now, the frog embryos are spinning in the dish petri It is not too complicated. They have no reproductive organs, they cannot multiply or evolve. Robots are programmed to die on their own and decompose when “battery“are the nutrients in them depleted.
Therefore, humans will certainly have some more time to consider what they can do, and how to be wary of the brand new life we have created.