Robot Without a Brain
“It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.”
A robot that can move about on its own must be programmed in great detail. Instructions must be given to each moving part. These instructions must also be able to direct the robot under all anticipated conditions. If there is any error in the instructions or an encounter with unexpected conditions, the robot will probably just freeze in place. Even slime mold can do better than this.
Even though slime mold cells are not connected to each other by nerves, when the cells join together, the resulting organism is able to move. It is able to deal with unexpected circumstances moving about by shifting liquid to change their collective bag-shaped body. Taking their cue from slime mold, a research group from Tohoku University in Japan has used the same principle to make a mobile robot. The robot is able to move across any flat surface by shifting liquid around, which changes pressure on different parts of the robot. It is made of 14 interconnected syringes, each with a motor to move the water. It moves around randomly until it is given a direction. Then the motors synchronize, and the robot begins to move in the commanded direction. This slime-mold type arrangement adjusts to changes in environment just like the real thing.
Leave it to God to accomplish a complicated task with a simple design.
Prayer: Father, move my heart to flee what will spiritually harm me and to seek that good You have to give me. Amen.
Author: Paul A. Bartz
Ref: Nikkei Weekly, 9/13/10, p. 21. “Robot inspired by slime mold.” Photo: The slime mould Enteridium lycoperdon. (PD)
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