Researchers develop ‘lifelike’ robots that can grow, self-assemble, and die
Using a process called DASH, researchers have developed robots that assemble, grow, and die like humans.
Remember the movie Transcendence? In the movie, Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp) uses nanotechnology to control things around. While the plot may be a science fiction, Cornell University researchers have come closer to achieving that by building nano-robots that mimic humans' DNAst to evolve, grow and even die on own.
Cornell University researchers explain they've developed a "bottom-up construction" of dynamic biomaterials "powered by artificial metabolism, representing a combination of irreversible biosynthesis and dissipative assembly processes."
Researchers used a process called DASH (DNA-based Assembly and Synthesis of Hierarchical) materials to create a DNA-like material which is capable of mimicking metabolism and other key aspects of life such as self-assembly and organisation.
The process allowed researchers to create a biomaterial that can automatically develop from a nanoscale building blocks and arrange on own. Just like DNAs, the material turns into polymers and then takes mesoscale shapes.
"We are introducing a brand-new, lifelike material concept powered by its very own artificial metabolism. We are not making something that's alive, but we are creating materials that are much more lifelike than have ever been seen before," said Dan Luo, professor of biological and environmental engineering in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
"The designs are still primitive, but they showed a new route to create dynamic machines from biomolecules. We are at a first step of building lifelike robots by artificial metabolism," said Shogo Hamada, lecturer and research associate in the Luo lab, and lead and co-corresponding author of the paper. "Even from a simple design, we were able to create sophisticated behaviors like racing. Artificial metabolism could open a new frontier in robotics."