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Jan 14

Cy Guy writes: Having not learned the lessons of Jurassic Park and the Terminator, scientists from the University of Vermont and Tufts have created “reconfigurable organisms” using stem cells from frogs. But don’t worry, the research was funded by the Department of Defense, so I’m sure nothing could possibly go wrong this time. “The robots, which are less than 1mm long, are designed by an ‘evolutionary algorithm’ that runs on a supercomputer,” reports The Guardian. “The program starts by generating random 3D configurations of 500 to 1,000 skin and heart cells. Each design is then tested in a virtual environment, to see, for example, how far it moves when the heart cells are set beating. The best performers are used to spawn more designs, which themselves are then put through their paces.”

“Because heart cells spontaneously contract and relax, they behave like miniature engines that drive the robots along until their energy reserves run out,” the report adds. “The cells have enough fuel inside them for the robots to survive for a week to 10 days before keeling over.”
The findings have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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