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 -
Vint Cerf's 'Digital Dark Age' Vs. George Orwell's
'You could never consult Archival Records in a straightforward manner.'- Frank Herbert, 1984.
Data Mining Computers Detect Your Emotions
'I can tell from your voice harmonics, Dave, that you're badly upset.'- Arthur C. Clarke, 1968.
Lizard Squad, Nihilistic Technofetishists For Hire
'The Modern's were mercenaries...'- William Gibson, 1984.
CoBots - Collaborative Robots Ask Humans For Help
'Whenever a robot finds something it can't identify... You give it a good look.'- Harry Harrison, 1956.
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.
Automated Treadmill Adjusts To Your Pace
'The auto-treadmill's bumps and gullies matched...'
Mr. Anderton, Beware This Long-Range Iris Scanner
Try keeping your eyes shut, Mr. Anderton.
Mini Statues Of You From 3D Images
'...A three-dimensional simulacrum of himself six inches high took form.'
'Forever' Camera Powered By Its Own Images
'What I have in this camera is not a record of what you did just now but what will go on here in the next half hour...'
Robot Chef Makes Thousands Of Dinners
'I got one of those new electronic cameras... and I could construct this one to do it exactly right down to the thousandth of a second.'
Revault Wearable Private Cloud Is Too Vaporous
'A man or woman could carry AIs or complete planetary dataspheres...'
Spacex Sticks Landing! But Neglects Lateral Forces
Lumo Projector Turns Kids Rooms Into Bradbury's Veldt
'The walls began to purr and recede... and presently an African veldt appeared...'
Ground Control Space Beer
Ninkasi Brewing Co. has its own space program.
Google Wants To Give Orders To Robot Armies
Or maybe they aren't bent on world domination.
Gestures Control Spider Robot Army
'What do you think - four spiders, one per floor?'
Hologram Protest World's First
'Their bodies were in their dwelling cells, but their telucid images filled the hall.'
SoSITE: US Pilots To Command DARPA Drone Army
'With a click of his pinky he brought up a pop-up menu, then selected *Kill Everyone*'
Asterank Database Identifies Profitable Asteroids
'Now it was a huge, charted, floating ore deposit for the entire Solar System.'
Pepper Spray Drones Do Crowd Control For Indian Police
'Basketball-sized, twelve feet up... they were there to enforce the law...'
Man-Made Earthquakes Now A Reality
Fracking yields unexpected increase in energy.
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories