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首个活体机器人带来新生命形式 可自我修复

2020-01-15 10:29

来源:新东方网整理

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  据CNN报道,佛蒙特大学与塔夫茨大学的研究团队用非洲爪蟾的皮肤细胞和心脏细胞造出了一种新型“活体机器人”。

  在显微镜下,这些小小的“肉团”在液体中忙个不停,时而向前,时而往后,时而转圈圈。只要往其中滴入一些细胞碎屑,它们就会将碎屑聚拢成一堆。如果在某个小“肉团”的背上轻弹一下,它就会立即躺倒,像只四脚朝天的乌龟。

  Scientists have created the world's first living, self-healing robots using stem cells from frogs.

  这些机器人将其命名为xenobots(爪蟾拉丁名“Xenopus laevis”和机器人“robots”两个词的结合)。它们不足1毫米宽,方便在人体内自由运动。它们游走于体内,不依赖食物能够存活几周时间,并且可以进行群体工作。

  Named xenobots after the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) from which they take their stem cells, the machines are less than a millimeter wide -- small enough to travel inside human bodies. They can walk and swim, survive for weeks without food, and work together in groups.

  佛蒙特大学表示这是“全新的生命形式”。

  These are "entirely new life-forms," said the University of Vermont, which conducted the research with Tufts University.

  干细胞是具有分化成不同种类细胞的能力。研究人员从爪蟾胚胎中提取了干细胞,然后使干细胞分化成能够自然收缩的心脏细胞和无法自然收缩的皮肤细胞。接着,他们利用细胞天生容易与其它细胞结合的特性,在显微镜下将这两种成分结合在一起。然后这些细胞被再塑成由一台超级计算机设计的“主体形态”,而这是此前自然界从未有过的形态。

  Stem cells are unspecialized cells that have the ability to develop into different cell types. The researchers scraped living stem cells from frog embryos, and left them to incubate. Then, the cells were cut and reshaped into specific "body forms" designed by a supercomputer -- forms "never seen in nature," according to a news release from the University of Vermont.

  这些细胞可以自行工作,皮肤细胞搭建结构,心脏细胞促使机器人自行运动。xenobots甚至有自我修复的能力:被切后,可自我修复并继续运动。

  The cells then began to work on their own -- skin cells bonded to form structure, while pulsing heart muscle cells allowed the robot to move on its own. Xenobots even have self-healing capabilities; when the scientists sliced into one robot, it healed by itself and kept moving.

  关于Xenobots的更多内容:

  "These are novel living machines," said Joshua Bongard, one of the lead researchers at the University of Vermont, in the news release. "They're neither a traditional robot nor a known species of animal. It's a new class of artifact: a living, programmable organism."

  Xenobots don't look like traditional robots -- they have no shiny gears or robotic arms. Instead, they look more like a tiny blob of moving pink flesh. The researchers say this is deliberate -- this "biological machine" can achieve things typical robots of steel and plastic cannot.

  Traditional robots "degrade over time and can produce harmful ecological and health side effects," researchers said in the study, which was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. As biological machines, xenobots are more environmentally friendly and safer for human health, the study said.

  The xenobots could potentially be used toward a host of tasks, according to the study, which was partially funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a federal agency that oversees the development of technology for military use.

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