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How UVM researchers revamped their groundbreaking ‘living robots’

Published: Apr. 14, 2021 at 4:52 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Groundbreaking “living robots” created by the University of Vermont and Tufts University have been revamped.

We first told you about these so-called xenobots in January 2020.

The microscopic robots are created from frog stem cells and could move on their own.

Now, in a recently published paper, the UVM researchers described the changes in version 2.0. The bots now move faster via tiny hairs and they have a new sensor that allows them to “remember” basic stimuli from their environment.

“We’re not quite sure if xenobots will ever be able to produce useful work. We hope that they will be, and we will work to try to make them as useful as possible. But they are already changing our conception of what a robot is, what an organism is, and what robots and organisms could be. And so that kind of thing, I think, is very important for science in general,” said Sam Kriegman, a UVM post-doctoral assistant and co-author.

Some possible hopes they have for these living robots down the line are in medicine. But they admit those are a ways off still. They need to experiment with creating these xenobots from human cells first.

Click here for more on the research.

Watch the video to see our Cat Viglienzoni’s full interview with Sam Kriegman on the xenobots.

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UVM researchers develop tiny living robots

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