Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

Plasmobot Amorphous Biological Robot

A massively-parallel, amorphous non-silicon biological robot - plasmobot - is under development. The basis for it will be plasmodium, the vegetative stage of the slime mould Physarum polycephalum, a mold found in most damp places in the UK.


( Physarum polycephalum, Devon, England)

Project leader Professor Andy Adamatzky explains:

“Most people’s idea of a computer is a piece of hardware with software designed to carry out specific tasks. This mould, or plasmodium, is a naturally occurring substance with its own embedded intelligence. It propagates and searches for sources of nutrients and when it finds such sources it branches out in a series of veins of protoplasm. The plasmodium is capable of solving complex computational tasks, such as the shortest path between points and other logical calculations. Through previous experiments we have already demonstrated the ability of this mould to transport objects. By feeding it oat flakes, it grows tubes which oscillate and make it move in a certain direction carrying objects with it. We can also use light or chemical stimuli to make it grow in a certain direction.

“This new plasmodium robot, called plasmobot, will sense objects, span them in the shortest and best way possible, and transport tiny objects along pre-programmed directions. The robots will have parallel inputs and outputs, a network of sensors and the number crunching power of super computers. The plasmobot will be controlled by spatial gradients of light, electro-magnetic fields and the characteristics of the substrate on which it is placed. It will be a fully controllable and programmable amorphous intelligent robot with an embedded massively parallel computer.”

Biological "robots" were well-known before the age of science fiction. In Hasidic lore, the golem is a kind of magical servant created out of dirt or clay that will serve its maker.

SF fans may be thinking of the 'moldies' from Rudy Rucker's 1997 novel Freeware:

The exact appearance of her humanoid head and arms was something she could tweak...In [her] alternate "pelican" mode, Monique became a set of great flapping wings attached to a tapered big-eyed body...
(Read more about Rucker's moldies)

Update 23-Sep-2009: Even earlier, consider the Ampek F-a2 from Philip K. Dick's 1996 novel The Simulacra..

Nat Flieger reflexively poured water into a cup and fed the living protoplasm incorporated into the Ampek F-a2 recording system which he kept in his office; the Ganymedean life form did not experience pain and had not yet objected to being made over into a portion of an electronic system... neurologically it was primitive, but as an auditory receptor it was unexcelled.
(Read more about the Ampek F-a2)

End updte.

From Science Daily; thanks to Aaron Mayzes and Moira for the tip on this story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/4/2009)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 2 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

Mobot Robot Tests Smartphone Apps With Its Finger
'Rapidly, purposefully, the metallic fingers moved over the key-boards...' - Schachner and Zagat, 1931.

Robotic Surgeons Outperform Human Surgeons
'...the objects moving about so gently and putting their instruments away were not living beings, but robots.' - John Russell Fearn

In Your Orchard, Do You Want Buzzing Suction Drones, OR Dick's Claw Hand Drones?
'Something that gleamed, shiny metal, gleamed and clicked as it turned toward her.' - Philip K. Dick, 1960.

The Sample Transfer Arm (STA), A Unique Mars Robot
'...a cranelike arm reached out. Grasping steel fingers fished around...' - Clifford Simak, 1944.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

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.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

Solar-Powered Remote-Control Cockroaches!
'A cable, here, from the controller to the interface plug... wires from that to the brain.'

SolarBotanic Tree For Solar Energy - Would You Need A Forest, Or Just One?
'The slender stalks of a sunshade-photocell collector...'

Metaverse Hardware - Run And Flail Like A Maniac, Or Lie Quietly?
'Holodeck 4 was waiting to be programmed...'

Robot Food Delivery Coming To Campus Near You
'... he rewired the delivery robot so that it would serve him midnight snacks.'

Are Craiyon Images Puddinged, ala Philip K. Dick?
'I stood in line for half an hour for this, and it's just a blob!'

Hip'Safe Airbag For Seniors, From Helite
'Other airbags go off around her torso and pelvis...'

Soulaje Self-Administered Euthanasia Wearable Prototype
'A young man... advanced with nervous strides along the gravel path which leads to the bronze doors of the Lethal Chamber.'

Midjourney AI Creates 'Théâtre D'opéra Spatial', Wins Art Fair First Prize
'... we'll give him in his brain what he needs for creation.'

Mobot Robot Tests Smartphone Apps With Its Finger
'Rapidly, purposefully, the metallic fingers moved over the key-boards...'

Space-Based Solar Power A Priority - European Space Agency
'...vast man-made disk of metal set spinning about the sun to supply the Earth with power.'

Goldilocks Zones Found On The Moon
Hopefully, there are no Mynocks in shadowed lunar craters, chewing on the power cables of spacecraft...

Robotic Surgeons Outperform Human Surgeons
'...the objects moving about so gently and putting their instruments away were not living beings, but robots.'

In Your Orchard, Do You Want Buzzing Suction Drones, OR Dick's Claw Hand Drones?
'Something that gleamed, shiny metal, gleamed and clicked as it turned toward her.'

Microbial Protein Production More Efficient Than Crops
'It's the food situation I'm worried about...'

The Sample Transfer Arm (STA), A Unique Mars Robot
'...a cranelike arm reached out. Grasping steel fingers fished around...'

CyberOne Robot By Xiaomi vs. Optimus Robot By Tesla
'I shall introduce myself... I am a robot.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.