An upcoming EU project aims to develop biological robots from roundworms, that will be engineered to for tasks including performing medical procedures in the human body.
The BABots (‘Biological Animal Robots’) project, funded by the European Innovation Council (ECI), is due to start in October and will involve a global team of researchers, including those from EARA members the Max Planck Institutes of Animal Behavior, and Neurology of Behavior, Germany, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.
By reprogramming C. elegans worms to perform human-designed tasks, the group’s first goal is to build BABots that can detect and kill pathogens that cause diseases in agriculture.
It is also hoped that the robots could also help to produce and distribute fertiliser for crops, clear up contaminants, and provide healthcare by entering the body.
According to the team, BABots: “..will present a completely new, animal form of synthetic biology.. generating synthetic organisms that operate at greater speeds, over larger areas, exhibiting more complex behaviours.”