Engineers from Cornell University have developed a material that can exhibit three of the fundamental properties of life. This new material has metabolism, self-assembly and organizational skills. The researchers achieved this feat in their experiments to develop machines with living characteristics. DNA and biomaterials were used in the experiments.
DNA was first created for the production of these materials, called DASH (DNA-based Hierarchical Assembly and Synthesis). These DNAs use biomaterials and manage chemical reactions, allowing the material to ‘live’.
Researchers say their goal is not to create life, but to produce machines with vitality properties. Dan Luo, a professor of biological and environmental engineering, says that they do not produce anything living, and that the materials they produce are lifelike at an unprecedented level.
Thanks to the data processed into DNA, the material has its own metabolism and can renew itself and grow on its own. While creating new structures, the material also removes the old and obsolete parts. The DNA chain, on the other hand, is in a special liquid structure.
While the design is still primitive, it will pave the way for more organic and more lifelike machines. The researchers aim to enable the material to detect light and find food on its own.
In the video below, Shogo Hamada, the lead researcher, explains the material’s production process and achievements.