MEDFORD, MASS. (WHDH) - A team of Tufts University scientists has created the world’s first living robots that can multiply on their own.

These microscopic organisms are not made of metal or wire, they are made from the skin cells of frogs. The computer-designed and hand-assembled organisms are called “xenobots.”

“It turns out that in these new environments, skin cells will get together and make a new proto-organism that can move around, it can repair damage, it can do various other things,” Tufts University developmental and synthetic biologist Michael Levin said. “As we report in this paper, it turns out that they also can assemble other loose cells in their environment into copies of themselves. So, they have a degree of replication capacity.”

Levin is one of the researchers behind the groundbreaking project. According to him, this scientific breakthrough could change the way we live.

“We are interested in this for the purposes of regenerative medicine because birth defects, traumatic injury, cancer, degenerative disease, aging could be solved if we knew how to stimulate cells to build specific organs and structures.”

The scientists say that the “xenobot” technology could have other real-world applications like helping to clean polluted oceans and assist with vaccine development.

For those concerned about the possible drawbacks that may come from this new development, Levin said the team is adhering to strict ethical standards and oversight.

He said this is just the first step in helping humans reach their full potential.

“The whole regenerative medicine community is working on technologies that are absolutely essential to help people reach their full potential during a nice, long healthy life,” he said. “We have a moral imperative to make that happen.”

Researchers say it will likely take decades before the public sees the benefits of this regenerative medicine.

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