Technology

What robotics can study from amoebae


Nov 22, 2022 (Nanowerk Information) Amoebae are single-cell organisms. By way of self-organization, they’ll type advanced constructions – and do that purely by native interactions: If they’ve lots of meals, they disperse evenly by a tradition medium. But when meals turns into scarce, they emit the messenger often known as cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP). This chemical sign induces amoebae to collect in a single place and type a multicellular aggregation. The result’s a fruiting physique. “The phenomenon is well-known,” says Prof. Erwin Frey from LMU’s College of Physics. “Prior to now, nonetheless, no analysis group has investigated how data processing, at a normal stage, impacts the aggregation of programs of brokers when particular person brokers – in our case, amoebae – are self-propelled.” Extra information about these mechanisms would even be attention-grabbing, provides Frey, as regards translating them to synthetic technical programs.Giant Amoeba under optical microscope
Big Amoeba beneath optical microscope. (Picture: Tom Stack, WaterFrame) Along with different researchers, Frey describes in Nature Communications (“Multi-scale group in speaking lively matter”) how lively programs that course of data of their setting can be utilized – for technological or organic functions. It’s not about understanding all particulars of the communication between particular person brokers, however in regards to the particular constructions fashioned by self-organization. This is applicable to amoebae – and in addition to sure sorts of robots. The analysis was undertaken in collaboration with Prof. Igor Aronson throughout his keep at LMU as a Humboldt Analysis Award winner.

From organic mechanism to technological software

Background: The time period “lively matter” refers to organic or technical programs from which bigger constructions are fashioned by the use of self-organization. Such processes are based mostly upon completely native interactions between similar, self-propelled models, resembling amoebae or certainly robots. Impressed by organic programs, Frey and his co-authors suggest a brand new mannequin during which self-propelled brokers talk with one another. These brokers acknowledge chemical, organic, or bodily alerts at a neighborhood stage and make particular person choices utilizing their inner equipment that end in collective self-organization. This orientation offers rise to bigger constructions, which might span a number of size scales. The brand new paradigm of speaking lively matter kinds the idea of the examine. Native choices in response to a sign and the transmission of data, result in collectively managed self-organization. Frey sees a potential software of the brand new mannequin in mushy robots – which is to say, robots which are made of sentimental supplies. Such robots are appropriate, for instance, for performing duties in human our bodies. They’ll talk with different mushy robots by way of electromagnetic waves for functions resembling administering medication at particular websites within the physique. The brand new mannequin may help nanotechnologists design such robotic programs by describing the collective properties of robotic swarms. “It’s adequate to roughly perceive how particular person brokers talk with one another; self-organization takes care of the remaining,” says Frey. “It is a paradigm shift particularly in robotics, the place researchers are trying to do exactly the alternative – they need to receive extraordinarily excessive ranges of management.” However that doesn’t all the time succeed. “Our proposal, in contrast, is to use the capability for self-organization.”

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