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Amoeboid Robot Moves Autonomously Without Centralized Brain

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the let's-build-something-creepy dept.

Biotech 38

An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from MIT's Technology Review: "A new blob-like robot described in the journal Advanced Robotics uses springs, feet, 'protoplasm' and a distributed nervous system to move in a manner inspired by the slime mold Physarum polycepharum. ... Researcher Takuya Umedachi of Hiroshima University has been perfecting his blob-bot for years, starting with early prototypes that used springs but lacked an air-filled bladder. ... Umedachi modeled his latest version on the 'true' slime mold, which has been shown to achieve a 'human-like' decision-making capacity through properties emerging from the interactions of its individual spores (abstract). Slime molds appear to have general computational abilities, and you've probably heard that they can solve mazes."

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hey! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39324163)

that's me! they're talking about

Re:hey! (3, Informative)

flyneye (84093) | more than 2 years ago | (#39324719)

No, it's not.
But these blobs have been undulating around malls for years, utilizing directional decision making to navigate the food courts, the bathrooms and regulate shopper traffic with their massive buttocks,bellys and arm fat dewlaps.

The real question is who stands to profit from controlling these Blob Bots or are they truly autonomous ?

There waiting in the "Test Chamber" (1)

Grindalf (1089511) | more than 2 years ago | (#39324181)

Don't worry Gordon Freeman, she's been suitably "De-Beaked."

Nice job (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39324187)

You just created a Shoggoth.

When interviewed.... (4, Funny)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 2 years ago | (#39324223)

... the robot reportedly announced plans to seek the GOP Presidential nomination.

Re:When interviewed.... (5, Funny)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39324357)

It's gonna be tough to snatch those robot votes away from Romney.

Re:When interviewed.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39330375)

Hey,
somebody just invented the Obama cabinet!

Re:When interviewed.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39324709)

Robotic slime-mould overlords?

That would be Hopenchange, rigth? Overbearing statists who know what's best for you?

Re:When interviewed.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39324927)

Get back to me when the Republican statists are willing to keep their state out of my bedroom.

Re:When interviewed.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39324971)

Get back to me when the Republican statists are willing to keep their state out of my bedroom.

NIce, shallow, unthinking sound bite.

In other words, a perfect example of "progressive thinking" - the archetype of oxymorons.

Re:When interviewed.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39325769)

So.... how many Maverick Points does a vague, bitter-sounding AC post on Slashdot fetch these days, anyway?

Re:When interviewed.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39325827)

>>keep their state out of my bedroom.
Yet still insist we pay for your gal's birth control and/or abortions, right?

Re:When interviewed.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39326027)

>>keep their state out of my bedroom. Yet still insist we pay for your gal's birth control and/or abortions, right?

Not original AC, nut: If prescribed by a doctor for a medical issue, then I'd expect it to be covered like any other medication.

To use in order not getting pregnant or _choosing_ to terminate, not necessarily so... though it might make financial sense for society to assist in not bringing unwanted/unsupported kids to term...

Re:When interviewed.... (1)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 2 years ago | (#39333507)

Yet still insist we pay for your gal's birth control and/or abortions, right?

As long as you insist I pay for your wars of choice, yes. It seems like a fair trade, doesn't it?

blob-bot (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 2 years ago | (#39324251)

The ideal sexbot to replace my significant other.

Re:blob-bot (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39324297)

Your significant other is an amorphous blob? Has she tried Jenny Craig?

Re:blob-bot (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39326341)

He has a Feeder/Gainer [wikipedia.org] fetish...

Oblig. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39324295)

I, for one, welcome our new robotic slime-mould overlords

Re:Oblig. (1)

macs4all (973270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39324533)

Damn! Beat me to it!

Combine with Pink Slime / Meat Slurry (2)

retroworks (652802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39324305)

The protein that crawls into your mouth while you sleep. Then you can find financing from USA fast food chains. ( http://tinyurl.com/2aj732 [tinyurl.com] ) Otherwise, not very marketable.

Real amoeba superior (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39324311)

A real amoeba is still a vastly superior design in comparison to this robot.

Background on Slimy Computation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39324365)

Background on Slimy Computation: http://tikalon.com/blog/blog.php?article=2011/mould

Blob bots (4, Funny)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#39324371)

Researcher Takuya Umedachi of Hiroshima University has been perfecting his blob-bot for years,

>modeled after slime mold

We would do well to look to Nature.

Here's one of Nature's blob bots in action

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7yUYDMtsfU&feature=related [youtube.com]

--
BMO

Without central brain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39324395)

I can relate - this being the first morning on DST.

cool hardware, lackluster intelligence (2)

steve.cri (2593117) | more than 2 years ago | (#39324567)

This type of hardware may be useful to implement e.g. limbs or fingers within a more complex system. For autonomus entities, the behavioural, force-feedback AI approach a la Braitenberg is a little dated. I think it does not allow to implement behavioural patterns complex enough to be of any practical use.

Re:cool hardware, lackluster intelligence (1)

sempir (1916194) | more than 2 years ago | (#39324789)

Don't be quite so critical, we have a parliament full of less useful semi-complex systems that wear suits, or dresses,and they get paid good money!

Re:cool hardware, lackluster intelligence (1)

steve.cri (2593117) | more than 2 years ago | (#39356861)

unsurprisingly, politically biased comments don't go well with the IT crowd, unless they fit the ultra-liberal template :(

they can solve mazes (4, Interesting)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#39324685)

... by enumeration.

Nature 2000 paper [nature.com] Figrue 1 legend:

Four hours after the setting of the agar blocks (AG), the dead ends of the plasmodium shrink and the pseudopodia explore all possible connections.

Figure 1a shows "Structure of the organism before finding the shortest path"

Text: "The plasmodium pseudopodia reaching dead ends in the labyrinth shrank " (engrish)

SO, in short, organism first fills the whole thing, then retracts from the areas with no food. Same way water will solve the problem (first part).

What they demonstrated is that signal from one end of organism about presence of food reached the other end of the organism. It's more about memory than computation.

Re:they can solve mazes (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#39325913)

can I invent a word here? It's more nutritropism than memory. Much like plants grow toward the sun (phototropism), or their roots grow down and their shoots grow up (geotropism), but following a food source.

Re:they can solve mazes (2)

Fred Ferrigno (122319) | more than 2 years ago | (#39326967)

Something has to drive the process of creating memories, which are internal physical states that have a correspondence with external reality. You could think of the direction of a plant's shoots as a kind of memory that encodes the direction of the Sun. The work is done by a simple, mindless process, but it pretty much has to be.

Re:they can solve mazes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39329185)

Wow, that sounds like a Non-deterministic Turing Machine to me!

Comparisons (4, Funny)

Lord Grey (463613) | more than 2 years ago | (#39324687)

Umedachi modeled his latest version on the 'true' slime mold, which has been shown to achieve a 'human-like' decision-making capacity through properties emerging from the interactions of its individual spores.

Are we absolutely certain that some slime molds achieves 'human-like' decision-making capacity rather than some humans achieving slime mold-like decision-making capacity?

Sorry. I probably shouldn't bring U.S. politics into the discussion so early in the threads.

Re:Comparisons (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#39324715)

Growing to encompass everything, then withdrawing from areas that have been sucked dry and barren?

That's not US politics, that's US economy.

Re:Comparisons (2)

bitflippant (2198664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39324751)

I thought is was foreign policy. Oh wait, it would have to burn the place down too for that.

Disturbing trends (2)

dmmiller2k (414630) | more than 2 years ago | (#39325329)

Might this be just a publicity stunt to promote, for example, a new "Rise of The Blob [imdb.com] " movie?

If so, it's just another lame attempt to cash in on prior art, rather than coming up with something original.

Who Knew Slime Molds Were That Smart? (3, Interesting)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 2 years ago | (#39325839)

Maybe I shouldn't have been eating them all those years in nethack....

Re:Who Knew Slime Molds Were That Smart? (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#39325969)

Just start worrying when the glowing green marshmallow [gametrailers.com] runs up the stick.

Sounds like a boss I once had (2)

vikingpower (768921) | more than 2 years ago | (#39326129)

"Moves autonomously without centralized brain".
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