Computer scientists and robotics experts at the University of Vermont (UVM) programmed a supercomputer to create new lifeforms called “xenobots,” which they hope to use for medical and environmental purposes.

These millimeter-wide robots can “move toward a target, perhaps pick up a payload (like a medicine that needs to be carried to a specific place inside a patient)—and heal themselves after being cut,” according to the university.

Co-leader of the research team, Joshua Bongard, said the “living machines” are “neither a traditional robot nor a known species of animal. It’s a new class of artifact: a living, programmable organism.”

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