A team of scientists designed a microscopic robot made from the stem cells of a frog embryo with self-healing capabilities and the ability to retain memories, and draws innovation from previous work released last year, called Xenobots, but has been updated to move more efficiently and perform tasks more complicated.
The machines called Xenobots 2.0 are capable of self-propulsion using leg-like bodies, while their predecessor relied on muscles to move, allowing them to travel faster on surfaces. However, the biggest advance is The ability to remember things like radioactive pollution, chemical pollutants, or a disease in the body, and can be reported to researchers for further analysis.
Both devices were also developed by biologists and computer scientists from Tufts University and the University of Vermont (UVM), who used the name "Xenobots" after the African frog, Xenopus Laevis, which was used to collect cells. Elementary robots were programmed to perform a range of tasks, namely drug delivery. Directly to a point in the body.
The update to versions 2.0 was to move faster, navigate different environments and have a longer life, but they still had the ability to work together in groups and heal themselves in case they got damaged.
While Tufts University scientists created physical organisms, scientists at UVM have been busy running computer simulations that have engineered different forms of Xenobots to see if they will exhibit different behaviours, either individually or in groups.
Josh Bongard of UVM, as we bring more capabilities to robots, we can use computer simulations to design them with more complex behaviours and the ability to perform more detailed tasks. We can design them not only to report conditions in their environment but also to modify and repair conditions in their environment.
After the simulations, the team decided that the new Xenobots were much faster and more adept at tasks such as collecting microplastics in water, which was much faster than the first edition.