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  • Writer's pictureSofia Ng

Robots who can walk in water?

In the world of "The Perfect Wife" and Beyond

Imagine a world where robots can walk through water, not with gears and circuits, but with muscles grown in a lab. This isn't a scene from a science fiction novel; it's a reality unfolding in our research labs today. Let's take a moment to reflect on a novel that parallels this reality, "The Perfect Wife" by J.P. Delaney.

In "The Perfect Wife," we meet Abbie, an advanced AI, or 'cobot', created by her husband, a leader in the tech world. This cobot, with its electronic body, is designed to be the perfect partner but with one limitation - it cannot interact with saltwater, as this would damage its intricate systems. This boundary between the cobot's capabilities and its limitations echoes the challenges we face in real-world robotics.

Real-Life Biohybrid Robots: A Step Forward

Now, let's turn to a development in robotics, as reported by James Woodford on January 26, 2024. Researchers at the University of Tokyo have created a tiny, biohybrid robot that moves by contracting lab-grown muscle tissue. This robot, only 3 centimeters tall, marks a significant step forward in biohybrid technology.

Unlike traditional robots, this bipedal creation can walk and turn by applying electricity to one of its legs, causing the muscle to contract. This method mirrors the way our muscles work, making the robot's movement more natural and efficient. However, this robot, still in its infancy, faces its own set of challenges. It's slow, moving at just 5.4 millimeters per minute, and requires assistance to stand in a water tank.

A Balance of Technology and Nature

This advancement opens up a world of possibilities but also raises ethical questions. As we integrate biological components with synthetic devices, we must consider the implications of creating life-like machines. Are we prepared for the responsibility that comes with such power? How do we define the line between a machine and a living being? When will we cross the boundary where Robots have rights and should be treated as a biological being?

The creation of biohybrid robots could impact the dynamics of the workforce and society. While they offer potential in areas like medicine and disaster relief, there's a concern about their impact on employment and the way we interact with technology.

The Promise and Perils of Biohybrid Robotics

As we look to the future, we can't help but wonder about the full potential of biohybrid robots. Can they eventually walk in air, requiring a nutrient supply system to keep their muscle tissue alive? How will these advancements change our world?

In "The Perfect Wife," we see a glimpse of a future where AI blurs the lines between human and machine. Similarly, in biohybrid robotics, we stand at the threshold of a new era. An era where machines not only mimic life but integrate with it.

While the technology of biohybrid robots is still in its early stages, it's essential to consider both its potential benefits and ethical implications. As we navigate these uncharted waters, we must tread carefully, balancing the promise of innovation with respect for the natural world and the ethical boundaries of science.

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If you would rather read a fictional book, here is a link to the author of the book mentioned:

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