But what if, instead of painstakingly designing and engineering a robot, you could just tear open a packet of primordial soup, toss it in the microwave on high for two minutes, and then grow your own 'lifelike' robot?
If you're a Cornell research team, you'd grow a bunch and make them race.
Scientists from Cornell University have successfully constructed DNA-based machines with incredibly life-like capabilities. These human-engineered organic machines are capable of locomotion, consuming resources for energy, growing and decaying, and evolving. Eventually they die.
That sure sounds a lot like life, but Dan Luo, professor of biological and environmental engineering in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell, who worked on the research, says otherwise. He told The Stanford Chronicle:
We are introducing a brand-new, lifelike material concept powered by its very own artificial metabolism. We are not making something that's alive, but we are creating materials that are much more lifelike than have ever been seen before.