Scientists use supercomputer to create 'first living robot'

Scientists use supercomputer to create 'first living robot'

Scientists use supercomputer to create 'first living robot'

The xenobots can survive in aqueous environments without further vitamins for days or weeks - making them appropriate for inner drug supply.

"These are novel living machines", said computer scientist and roboticist Joshua Bongard of the University of Vermont.

Xenobot usually do not appear to be traditional robots - they don't have any shiny equipment or robot tools.

This makes the "birth" of an entirely new living organism previously unknown to mankind. The xenobots could potentially be used toward a host of tasks, according to the study, which was partially funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a federal agency that oversees the development of technology for military use.

Various practical usages for the xenobots have been proposed, including clearing human arteries, cleaning microplastics from the oceans and gathering radioactive waste. But those robots may not have any metal components if some researchers have their way.

It may be years of research before that happens, but the universities of Vermont and Tufts have been able to generate these "entirely new life forms".

The results of the new research were published January 13 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. And just as evolution works in the natural world, the least successful forms would be deleted by the computer program. The researchers say that is deliberate - this "organic machine" can obtain issues typical robots of metal and plastic cannot. But determining how the cells' genomes are altered when they're used to make these machines instead of frogs is actually part of the reason the machines are being built. While the scientists say they don't evolve-and in fact, can be programmed to die at a certain point by modulating how much food reserves they're given-the biological machines could theoretically be weaponized, and it's possible that the A.I. that designs their parent models could be programmed with nefarious intentions. The researchers, led by doctoral student Sam Kriegman, the paper's lead author, would assign the computer certain tasks for the design - such as achieving locomotion in one direction - and the computer would reassemble a few hundred simulated cells into different body shapes to achieve that goal. Then, using tiny forceps and an even tinier electrode, the cells were cut and joined under a microscope into a close approximation of the designs specified by the computer.

What the team created is a body form never seen in nature.

Using living tissue is often controversial, and in future work scientists may move towards using mammalian cells to allow robots to exist outside of water.

Those millimeter-wide reconfigurable organisms were shown to be able to move and explore their watery environment for days or weeks, according to the study. Nevertheless, Xenobots could lead to more discoveries and start an uncharted future. The researchers used a supercomputer running the evolutionary algorithm and tested thousands of 3D designs to discover the most feasible structures for the Xenobots. We can surely quibble about whether or no longer or no longer these robots qualify as being surely alive, but they're most surely a precursor to totally shaped artificially constructed lifeforms. What's more interesting is that the live robots were sliced into half and surprisingly, it stitched itself and kept going.

"Any time we try to harness life ..."

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