Living Slime Mold Builds Logical Circuits
European researchers have built circuit logic units using living slime molds; this could be the start of computing devices and sensors. Andrew Adamatzky (University of the West of England, Bristol, UK) and Theresa Schubert (Bauhaus-University Weimar, Germany) have used networks of living, interconnected slime mold tubes to process information.
In earlier work, the team demonstrated that such a tube network could absorb and transport different colored dyes. They then fed it edible nutrients -- oat flakes -- to attract tube growth and common salt to repel them, so that they could grow a network with a particular structure. They then demonstrated how this system could mix two dyes to make a third color as an "output."
Using the dyes with magnetic nanoparticles and tiny fluorescent beads, allowed them to use the slime mold network as a biological "lab-on-a-chip" device. This represents a new way to build microfluidic devices for processing environmental or medical samples on the very small scale for testing and diagnostics, the work suggests. The extension to a much larger network of slime mold tubes could process nanoparticles and carry out sophisticated Boolean logic operations of the kind used by computer circuitry.
The team has so far demonstrated that a slime mold network can carry out XOR or NOR Boolean operations. Chaining together arrays of such logic gates might allow a slime mold computer to carry out binary operations for computation.
"The slime mold based gates are non-electronic, simple and inexpensive, and several gates can be realized simultaneously at the sites where protoplasmic tubes merge," conclude Adamatzky and Schubert.
Fans of Star Trek Voyager may recall similar technology described in the 1995 episode Caretaker.
(Blue gel pack in the panel behind a replicator )
The gel packs formed the basis of the bio-neural circuitry, which was essentially an organic computer system. The packs contained neural fibers surrounded in a blue gel with metallic interfaces on the top and bottom. They helped store more information and operated at faster speeds than isolinear circuitry.
The fibers in an individual gel pack were capable of making billions of connections, thus generating an incredibly sophisticated and responsive computing architecture. This kind of organic circuitry allowed computers to "think" in very similar ways to living organisms; by using "fuzzy logic", they could effectively operate by making a "best guess" answer to complex questions rather than working through all possible calculations. This was due in part to the inherent ability of organic neural systems to correlate chaotic patterns that eluded the capacities of conventional hardware.
Via ScienceDaily; thanks to an anonymous reader for the tip and reference on this story.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/28/2014)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
Terminal Snooping At Bloomberg
'The evidence began with a slowed response at her computer terminal.' - Frank Herbert, 1977.
Will There Be A Digital Afterlife?
'A quick exchange of energies resulting from the relocation of discorporate states.' - Samuel R. Delany, 1968.
Twitter Sarcasm Detected By Computer
Livescribe 3 Black Edition Smartpen
Yes, Thunderbird fans, you've seen this one before!
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Once A Jolly Swagbot Camped By A Billabong
Under the shade of a coolibah tree...
Juno Gets Close To Jupiter, Fiction Gets Closer!
Amazing Juno spacecraft cozies up to the biggest planet in our solar system.
NASA Submarine For Titan
'Straight away from the shore it swam, seeing nothing but flecks of paraffin...'
Sketching Robots May Displace Starving Artists
Jeez, robots, leave us with something.
Three Clues To Limb Regeneration
'Forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to regrow his lost fingers...'
Soft Caterpillar Robot Powered By Light
'the spread-out "puddle" shape she used for soaking up sun...'
Converting Low Temp Waste Heat To Electricity
'Our civilisation was dying in its own waste heat.'
Flex Robot Surgeon - Let's Hope You're Sedated
There are other insertion points, right, Neo?
Liquid Metal Terminator Development Hums Right Along
More research is needed - check!
Kiwi Dominos Drone Pizza Delivery
If you can deliver diapers, you can deliver pizzas.
MIT Robot Helps Out In Delivery Room
Oooee nooomaa oooee. And you thought today's doctors were hard to understand.
Self-Healing Textiles! Say Goodbye To Torn Jeans
'The constant renewal of the fibers, repairing any faults...'
Fleets Of Ford Autonomous Cars In 5 Years
'He urgently addressed the vehicle's AI."Can't we go any faster?'
Electric Head Patch Helps PTSD Patients
'Don't confuse this with the little ten amp neurosis models.'
MEDi Robot Calms The Nervous Patient
'Specially programmed stabilizing surrogate devices.'
NASA's Interplanetary Internet DTN
'This was the center of Interplanetary Communications.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories