Are Xenobots The Solution to Clear Microplastics From Our Oceans?

Don’t freak out. These little guys are pretty chill. Xenobots are tiny, less than 1 millimetre-wide ‘robots’ made of living cells from frog embryos.

Scientists at the University of Vermont and Tufts University in the US designed these little guys using an “evolutionary algorithm” through a supercomputer.

Their special characteristics mean that they have the ability to self-repair, carry and absorb materials. It is hoped that they can be used to reduce micro-plastic pollution from the ocean, search and take in radioactive waste/toxic materials and, can even help to unclog and remove plaque from human arteries.

The good news is, that the future of the xenobots are built with sustainability in mind. They are also known as ‘green robots’ built with biodegradable and recyclable materials.

This means that they can run on renewable energy sources once their cycle is complete and they break down without negatively affecting the  environment (reported by Barbara Mazzolai, and Cecilia Laschi, in “A vision for future bioinspired and biohybrid robots” published in the international journal Science Robotics). 

The Xenobots are also designed to be in line with the United Nations goals- the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

So to answer your question- can Xenobots remove plastic waste from our oceans? Well there definitely is potential, according to the science and research behind them. I suppose we just have to wait to see!

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