In a world where machines and robots are advancing at a roaring pace, scientists from Cornell University have just accomplished a massive leap forward, reports the Cornell Chronicle. They have created organic machines that move on their own, consuming resources for energy, grow, and change, and then, eventually, die and decay.
The researchers used a technology called DNA-based Assembly and Synthesis of Hierarchical (or DASH) to construct the biomaterial machines. But though the scientists’ creation sounds a lot like something that is alive, the researchers stress they have not created a life-form, primitive or otherwise. As Dan Luo, professor of biological and environmental engineering in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, to the Cornell Chronicle:
“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.”
Right now the lifelike machines have the complexity of some basic slime molds, but the researchers think their work holds great promise for the future when it comes to creating advanced robots that not only metabolize energy and grow and discard cells, like humans, but ones that “may lead to lifelike self-reproducing machines.”
You can check out a short video of some of the researchers discussing their groundbreaking work below.