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Xenobots: World’s First Living Robot Created from Stem Cell

Technological advancement has taken mankind quite far. But how far did we think it could take us? Well, we already have conceptualized robots taking over the world in movies, etc. after we, human beings are ready to give them ultimate control over us.

In fact, in order to cater to our ever-growing needs, we are actually trying to make them efficient enough. It seems like we intend to create a robot that is basically a machine but yet capable of working and thinking like us.

A unique amalgamation of mechanic perfection and natural human instinct. How great does that sound? The good news is, scientists have now finally figured out how to make it possible. 

They could finally combine artificial intelligence with living cells to create living robots. Yes, you read that right – Living Robots that scientists have named as ‘Xenobot’.

The Remarkable Creation of Xenobot

Xenobot was created from combining Artificial Intelligence with the stem cells of a particular species of frog called Xenopus Laevis. A research team of scientists and roboticists who worked on this operation came up with the term ‘Xenobot’. It comes from the scientific name of this African clawed frog. So ‘Xeno’ from Xenopus Laevis and ‘Bot’ from robots ultimately gave it the name Xenobot.

Giving them Life

The research team figured out the method of making robots with stem cells using a supercomputer. They were finally able to carry out this operation successfully after years of trying. Thousands of stem cells were tested with the help of this supercomputer to examine which living organism was capable of performing which tasks. 

The computer was pre-programmed with an AI evolutionary algorithm to check how different living organisms could recognize and move towards specific targets. After experimenting with a great amount and type, the researchers finally decided to go with the most promising designs.

They decided to replicate the virtual models with the real ones and first attempted to do it using the African-clawed frog’s heart or skin cells. They were joined in manually with the help of microsurgery tools that enables the Xenobot to contract and relax and give it an organism-like motion.

The most notable aspect of a Xenobots is that it is capable of self-healing and can repair themselves naturally after being damaged.

Various Functions and Applications

Although Xenobots have been described as “programmable living robots’, these newly formed creatures are actually majorly organic since it is primarily made of living tissues. 

They are partly robots because of the fact that they can be configured into different shapes and forms according to our various needs and have been programmed accordingly.

This also makes them capable of targetting certain objects that they unwittingly seek. So, using this to our advantage, we could benefit from Xenobots in a lot of ways. Especially to solve our near-future problems in ways such as :

  • The Xenobots could be programmed to target microplastics that could make them clean our oceans which are currently polluted by billions and trillions of tonnes of such wastes. This would save our marine life that is at great risk due to this major microplastic problem.
  • Similarly, they could also be used to send to confined places where humans cannot enter. For example, high radiation areas that are dangerous for any living organism to venture into as they involve life risk. But for these Xenobots, they can easily enter these areas to scavenge for these toxic or radioactive materials.
  • Since Xenobots can be configured into different shapes and forms, it is speculated that they could be carefully shaped into small pouches to carry drugs into human bodies.
  • The Xenobots could be a solution for locating cancerous cells in human bodies. They could be programmed to recognize and target such cells and detect them at the earliest. They could also be used to repair such cells because of their self-healing property.

Risks and Questions Involved

There are many ethical and legal questions involved regarding the creation of these living robots. But the creators have rightly acknowledged the need for these questions and are open to discussion regarding the same. 

The Xenbots could be used to target cancer cells to hijack life functions for malevolent purposes. This always remains the main concern because we have seen them with technologies in various other fields including nuclear physics, chemistry, biology and also AI.

While for some core religious believers, it is wrongful to go against nature by artificially making living things hubristic. So, for those hardcore believers, the creation of Xenobots is considered blasphemy.

The Xenobots might also be used for hostile biological purposes that are prohibited by various international laws. Another real concern includes advanced future Xenobots that would be capable of living longer and reproducing. So, there are chances that they could potentially malfunction resulting in going rogue and out-competing other species.

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So, this could actually just be the start of our nightmares coming true,  i.e robots taking over the world.