Ecco gli “xenobot”, i primi robot fatti di cellule viventi

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Un gruppo di ricercatori statunitensi ha assemblato cellule di embrioni di rana in una struttura in grado di muoversi autonomamente, autoripararsi e anche trasportare un piccolo carico. Le applicazioni potrebbero essere numerose, dalla raccolta delle microplastiche alla somministrazione di farmaci o pulizia dei vasi sanguigni.

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Non sono animali, anche se sono fatti di cellule estratte da embrioni di rana. E non sono neppure robot in senso stretto, anche se sono stati assemblati in laboratorio. Quelli descritti sui “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” dai ricercatori della Tuft University e dell’Università del Vermont sono xenobot, cioè esseri viventi, lunghi pochi millimetri, che possono muoversi verso un obiettivo, autoripararsi dopo essere stato sezionati e all’occorrenza trasportare un piccolo carico.
Il risultato apre un filone di ricerca del tutto nuovo, perché finora i tentativi di assemblare organismi artificiali hanno avuto come modello l’anatomia di animali esistenti, mentre in questo caso si tratta per la prima volta di progettare da zero macchine biologiche. Continua a leggere

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