‘Pac-Man’ robots made from frog cells could solve cancer and plastic pollution


Living “Pac-Man” robots made from frog cells could solve everything from plastic pollution to cancer.

“Xenobots” are millimeter-wide life forms made up of cells taken from frog embryos.

The cells in their skin are used to build the structure of the mini-robots, while the heart cells act as tiny motors to move them.

Now, researchers have found that newborn robot frogs can create copies of themselves.

Co-lead author Professor Joshua Bongard, University of Vermont, said, “We have found some xenobots that are walking. We found some xenobots swimming. And now in this study we have found xenobots that … are replicating.

The US team used AI to create xenobots with mouths shaped like Pac-Man. They could be used to swim and pick up tiny pieces of plastic pollution from rivers and oceans,

Pac-Man robots’ made from frog cells

And they could help solve some of our biggest health problems, too.

Prof Bongard said: “If we knew how to tell collections of cells to do what we wanted them to do, ultimately it’s regenerative medicine – it’s the solution to traumatic injuries, birth defects, cancer. and aging. “

He added, “All of these different problems are there because we don’t know how to predict and control which groups of cells are going to build up. Xenobots are a new platform to teach us.

The news comes after US researchers created robots by transforming frog stem cells into living tissue that doesn’t exist in nature, dubbed “Xenobots.”

The cells are similar in shape to the classic arcade game ‘Pac man’

“Synthetic living machines” are swarms of identical cells that “already exhibit coordinated locomotion” – and are now configured to be transformed into “large-scale anatomies” such as organ tissue.

“We show that xenobots can navigate watery environments in a variety of ways, heal after damage, and show emerging group behaviors,” the researchers wrote in their paper.

Corresponding study author Professor Michael Levin of Tufts University said his team had created a “system of novel self-assembled organisms to be able to study the behavior and morphogenesis of creatures.”

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