This Isn’t Science Fiction. Could Self-Replicating Living Robots Save Us All?

Image by Tara Winstead on Pexels

By Mila Lemoine, age 10 and IndyKids staff

Back in 2021, a team of scientists from three universities around the United States unveiled the world’s first-ever living robots. Just one year later, the robots have evolved and can reproduce. 

These so-called xenobots are engineered from stem cells from African clawed frogs and can be programmed to perform tasks like moving tiny objects around a Petri dish, the Smithsonian reported. They also discovered that these microscopic cells can self-heal. Now, the team of scientists have discovered that the xenobots are able to self-replicate also!

The scientists hope that xenobots could advance healthcare technology, like learning to analyze how medications can aid or damage individuals. They may even be able to destroy harmful cells in the human body, meaning they could be used to treat cancer one day. According to Josh Bongard, a robotics expert at the University of Vermont, the bots could also be used to remove microplastics from the ocean one day, which could have a significant impact on climate change.

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