Applied Bionics and Biomechanics

Applied Bionics and Biomechanics / 2010 / Article

Open Access

Volume 7 |Article ID 278302 | 9 pages | https://doi.org/10.1080/11762320902863890

Physarum Boats: If Plasmodium Sailed It Would Never Leave a Port

Received04 Mar 2009

Abstract

Plasmodium of Physarum polycephalum is a single huge (visible by naked eye) cell with a myriad of nuclei. The plasmodium is a promising substrate for non-classical, nature-inspired computing devices. It is capable of approximation of the shortest path in a maze, computation of planar proximity graphs and plane tessellations, primitive memory and decision making. The unique properties of the plasmodium make it an ideal candidate for a role of amorphous biological robots with massive parallel information processing and distributed inputs and outputs. We show that when adhered to a lightweight object resting on a water surface the plasmodium can propel the object by oscillating its protoplasmic pseudopodia. In experimental laboratory conditions and computational experiments we study phenomenology of the plasmodium-floater system, and possible mechanisms of controlling motion of objects propelled by on-board plasmodium.

Copyright © 2010 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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