In 2020, a new lifeform arrived on Earth. More specifically, it arrived in a lab — the Levin Laboratory at Tufts University in Massachusetts. As alien species go, these were no little green men or any other science-fiction cliché. They looked more like tiny black specks of fine sand moving slowly around in a Petri dish. And while they're not alien in the extraterrestrial definition, they certainly are in the sense that they're strange. These so-called "xenobots" are living, biological automatons that may just signal the future of robotics as we know it. "These don't fit the classical definition of an organism because they can't reproduce — although from a safety standpoint this [is] a feature and not a defect," Douglas Blackiston , a senior scientist in the Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University, told Digital Trends. "They could be classified as an 'imperfect organism.' I think they do qualify as robots, however. Even though they are living, they are built from the ground up for a specific purpose. These aren't something that has ever, or could ever, exist in nature — it's a human-made construction." Swarms of living robots Let's back up. Last year, researchers at Tufts created the… Read full this story
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