ROBOTS OF THE FUTURE: Scientists Create Living Cells Out Of Inorganic Metals

September 16, 2011


Because there's absolutely no point, scientists have managed to create 'living' cells out of metals. Why? I JUST TOLD YOU, THERE'S NO REASON. Fine, FINE -- it's to prove that inorganic life could evolve somewhere in the cosmos. Are you happy now?! Because I'm sure as hell not. *tries to spit, dribbles down chin to dress* FUFUFUFUUUUUUUUUU! "Wait -- let's go back to the part where you're wearing a dress." You'd like that.

To prove that it's at least physically possible, a team from the University of Glasgow has created some cell-like bubbles call iCHELLs out of metallic elements like tungsten bonded with oxygen and phosphorus. These bubbles can self-assemble, and they exhibit many of the same properties that allow biological cells to do what they do, including an internal structure and a selectively porous outer membrane that can let other molecules pass through. It may even be possible to set the metallic cells up to perform photosynthesis.

The tricky bit at this point is to figure out how to imbue the metallic cells with something like DNA to allow them to self-replicate and evolve, but this may in fact be possible: the bubbles can use each other as templates to create more bubbles, and experiments suggest that they may even be able to alter their own chemistry to adapt to different environments.

Yeah, so in the process of proving inorganic life could evolve somewhere, we're gonna wind up making some sort of sentient robotic race. That...sounds wonderful, really. Hold on, my gun just told me he wanted to talk to me. Yes, gun? "BLAM!" Cool story bro. Also, I don't really understand why this is even news considering I've known cells could be made out of metal for years. Get it?! Jail. I've spent time there.

Researchers developing new form of life that's made of metal [dvice]

Thanks to The Dude and Tim, who agree cells have always been made out of metal.

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