Scientists at the University of the West of England are to design the first ever biological robot using mould. Researchers have received a Leverhulme Trust grant to develop the amorphous non-silicon biological robot, plasmobot, using plasmodium, the vegetative stage of the slime mould Physarum polycephalum, a commonly occurring mould which lives in forests, gardens and most damp places in the UK. The Leverhulme Trust funded research project aims to design the first every fully biological (no silicon components) amorphous massively-parallel robot.
…Professor Adamatzky says that there are long term potential benefits from harnessing this power, â€œWe are at the very early stages of our understanding of how the potential of the plasmodium can be applied, but in years to come we may be able to use the ability of the mould for example to deliver a small quantity of a chemical substance to a target, using light to help to propel it, or the movement could be used to help assemble micro-components of machines. In the very distant future we may be able to harness the power of plasmodia within the human body, for example to enable drugs to be delivered to certain parts of the human body. It might also be possible for thousands of tiny computers made of plasmodia to live on our skin and carry out routine tasks freeing up our brain for other things. Many scientists see this as a potential development of amorphous computing, but it is purely theoretical at the moment.â€