Slime mould doesn't have a brain, but that doesn't mean it's totally brainless. Experiments have shown it's surprisingly clever for a pile of goo.
It's able to find its way to food over the most efficient path, and can even display signs of memory. Now a researcher has found a way to give it control of a human face - in a sense - by displaying its 'emotions' in real time, on a robot.
New Scientist reports from the Living Machines conference at the Natural History Museum how Ella Gale built the mechanism, by which slime moulds create electric pulses when their either move towards nourishment or retreat from bursts of light over 64 micro electrodes.
Using those signals, Gale related them to basic emotions - finding food was 'happy', running away was 'angry' - and translated them into the face of the robot. It's not the first time that slime moulds have controlled a robot, but it is the first time that we've been able to tell how they feel about it.
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