Living Frog Cells Repurposed into Robot Organisms

Joshua Bongard from the University of Vermont, is a robotics expert and computer scientist who helped discover the research of robots which are made up of living frog cells. Joshua and his colleagues at the UVM used a supercomputer to configure what these robot organisms would actually look like, while biologists from Tuffs University actualy constructed them. The purpose for the creation of these robot organism hybrids is to achieve tasks which weren’t previously capable by modern technology. These hybrids, which will be able to be controlled and told what to do, will change the way certain medicines are delivered and will be used to collect and destroy waste in the environment and toxic materials in humans alike. (University of Vermont, 2020)

Personally I believe the creation of controllable organisms such as these will be not only be extremely impressive, but will also serve as a great innovation for the medical field and really any other field that could use them in a responsible manner. Another thing that I found really cool is that since these robots are made up of living cells, they are able to regenerate themselves if damaged and are biodegradable once their job is finished. (University of Vermont, 2020). My only concern with this type of technology is the possibility of it ending up in the wrong hands further down the road where people may take advantage of it and create something that could be harmful in some way.

Overall, I think that the scientists at both UVM and Tuffs University have created something that will benefit a variety of fields, and have used information responsibly to create something that’s never been seen before.


2 thoughts on “Living Frog Cells Repurposed into Robot Organisms

  1. I see how this advancement in robotics could provide so many benefits to society. Like what you said, they can be controlled to perform specific functions that just humans, or robots would not be able to complete on their own. With this, there could be major improvements to society as long as these robotic organisms are protected and watched over. If something were to happen where a person stole the design for malicious intentions, then all the good that these Xenobots could bring could potentially be reversed and cause even more issues. (EcoWatch, 2020) Another issue that I believe might come up is that if these robots are living organisms that can just be controlled at the hands of the programmer, then there are bound to be ethical and moral implications as to whether these robotic organisms deserve rights to do as they please. It is not as heavy of an issue as the robots going rogue and becoming terminators over the years, but it is a problem I believe some rights activists may bring up. Other than that, I believe that these “Xenobots” could have an incredible amount of potential to assist the world that we live in and assist in breakthroughs for further technologies to be developed like this.


  2. This is a revolutionary advancement in the field of robotics. It’s so interesting that instead of going the route of nanorobotics, some scientists are investigating biomimicry and using biological organisms to approach these types of issues. If you think about it, the evolutionary process which produce the organisms in our world is unmistakably similar to how the iterative design process works. The algorithm produces a variety of possible structures for the xenobots (nickname for the frog cell robots). The researchers assemble them to see the most effective models and breed them. They also feed their experimental data back into the program. (Wired, 2020) This just goes to show how nature and technology can function in a complementary way; the researchers combine the best of both worlds. If we are harness these processes to produce useful technologies in a responsible way, this could be a solution to many problems.


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