Science

Slime Bot Cyborg uses Mold for a Brain

Posted 19 Feb 2006 at 04:04 UTC by The Swirling Brain Share This

A robot controlled by slime mold has been created at the University of Southampton, UK. The bright yellow Physarum polycephalum slime mold fears light. Researchers grew a star-shaped bit of the fungi, attached some sensors connected to a cpu for controlling robotic legs. When light is shined on the points of the star-shaped mold, the computer senses the mold's movements which in turn activates robotic legs as the slime mold wants to get away from the light.


One more article, posted 20 Feb 2006 at 01:21 UTC by steve » (Master)

We covered this in an earlier article that referenced Roland Piquepaille's blog:
http://robots.net/article/1809.html

The previous story has a link to paper with more details. Despite all the ariticles and the paper, I'm still not clear on what the resulting behavior of the robot is. Everyone seems more fascinated by the slime than the robot! :)

Cyborg Usefulness, posted 20 Feb 2006 at 03:50 UTC by The Swirling Brain » (Master)

Sorry about the dupe.

The usefulness of this cyborg is probably very minimal at this point. It sounds like it doesn't really walk unless you were to shine a light sequentially on the bits of the mold to force the legs to move the way you want them to move. The real usefulness is just the integration of the mold to the computer to control the legs. Perhaps if more research were done the mold could be arranged into some sort of neural network albiet a slow one, to control the legs in some sort of intelligent way. Or perhaps this is a precursor to integrating some other bio-material to a cpu. Anyway, I'd agree that this current slime bot is not very useful other than to show that there may be some potential in it.

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