Scientists created the first-ever living robots called Xenobots from stem cells of an African clawed frog. More than that, they have found a way to make the bots reproduce themselves on their own efficiently.


Xenobots are nano-sized robots. Normal robots are usually made out of metal or plastic. However, this robots are made out of organic cellular material from the stem cells of an African clawed frog, named Xenopus laevis.

Xenobots can also move forward, turn around and can even spin in circles. It can also flip on its back.

Most importantly, it’s a human-made robot that’s alive. Interestingly, this living robot can now make a replica of itself. 

This means that this is a robot that has a reproduction mechanism.

Xenobots on a petri dish
Xenobots on a petri dish


Sam Kriegman told that, when people hear the word robot, they probably think of a large industrial-level metallic figure. Sam Kriegman worked on the project Xenobot along with the researchers from the University of Vermont, Harvard’s University, and Tuff’s University.


Kriegman says, “We tried to figure out what useful work they could do, and one of the things that we came up with was to clean up the dish.”


By placing some silicon-coated iron beads and dye particles into a petri dish, they experimented movement and reactions of these Xenobots. 


They observed that these little Xenobots are accumulating the debris. 

That’s why Kriegman described these little bots as tiny bulldozers.

Kriegman’s colleague Mr. Douglas Blackiston repeated the process by placing additional cells which are the same kind Xenobots made of.


After seeing the outcome of this repeated experiment, Kriegman said, “Oh my God, that’s amazing. What happens when they make the piles. What do the cells become when they’re piles?’ We didn’t know,” Kriegman said. “We found out by letting those piles develop over the course of a few days, and then bringing them into a new dish and seeing if they can move.”

This shows that the piles become offspring of the stem cells that grow their own cilia.

Cilia is a small nanosized hair-like vibrating structure found in these cells.

“If there’s enough of the stem cells in a pile, they will start to develop and will compact together in a sphere, They’ll grow cilia, and that allows them to move, and in some cases, also make additional piles, and those piles become their offspring.” 

Sam Kriegman said.

Kriegman concluded that their next goal for the Xenobots would be to give some sensory organs and capabilities for them.

Learn more about Xenobots

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