Blocks are made of polymer compounds or nanomaterials, which can be connected by a tenon-and-mortise structure, just like Lego, but smaller.

Some blocks can be powered by solar or other energy, with functions such as movement, detection, or logic control.

The life composed of blocks can assemble other blocks according to certain rules, and can even use natural resources to make new building blocks.

This is different from a robot, because the processor or nervous system is also made up of blocks.

The level of block is lower than the cell because it does not embed genetic material (but itself can be used to form genetic material), but it is higher than the atom because it has specific functions and physical properties. Roughly equivalent to protein and some other molecules.

The waste and remains of one "species" can become raw materials for other "species".

This system can be regarded as a physically feasible analogy of cellular automata.

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  • $\begingroup$ Aside from their unparalleled defense mechanism leaving us human no choice but to invent boots and later on leather belts, I know plant cells are rectangular... $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Dec 26, 2020 at 13:25
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Do you mean like cells? $\endgroup$
    – Raditz_35
    Dec 26, 2020 at 13:59
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    $\begingroup$ Conway's Game of Life, and cellular automata in general. And, of course, what is life? (BTW, @Raditz_35 is absolutely right. All life on Earth is made of such blocks. Or else, you must explain in what way your blocks are different from the living cells of which we are made.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Dec 26, 2020 at 14:35
  • $\begingroup$ So basically you want to know if nanite-based life is possible? There are hundreds of books and video games based on the assumption it IS. Obviously we haven't made it YET, so it's not proven, but it is likely. $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    Dec 26, 2020 at 15:09

1 Answer 1


These mechanisms made out of "blocks" would have the same eventual capabilities as robots, they are effectively just a highly modular way of building machines. There is no fundamental advantage or disadvantage to making machines this way, merely scales of ease and convenience and efficiency.

So the question really devolves to: Can robots be built to be "alive" in the way that we define life.

The answer to that is: not yet. Possibly never, possibly in the soon-ish future. Who knows? It also heavily depends on the exact definition of the words "built" , "machine" , and "life"

  • $\begingroup$ I found that my thinking actually blurred the definition of machine and life. Whether "blocks" is something between atoms and cells or a machine part is a question. $\endgroup$
    – Milowork
    Dec 26, 2020 at 13:07

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