Bristol scientists to build a biological robot to break the mould
Scientists at the University of the West of England have been given a grant of nearly £230,000 to develop a new robot with the power of a super-computer – using mould.
The biological robot, called Plasmobot, will be developed from a vegetative slime mould that commonly occurs in damp spots in forests and gardens throughout the UK.
In the future it could be used for medicine or industry.
Professor Andy Adamatzky, who is leading the work, said previous research had proved the mould had computational abilities.
He said: "Most people's idea of a computer is a piece of hardware with software designed to carry out specific tasks. This mould is a naturally occurring substance with its own embedded intelligence, and 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 the mould to transport objects."
Professor Adamatzky said in the future the robot could be used for assembling micro-components in machines, or in medicine to deliver drugs to certain parts of the body. But he added that its potential was a long way off and purely theoretical at the moment.