Category Archives: Biosemiotics

Fun with Microbes


I’m afraid I haven’t come up with any great ideas for biological video games per se, but I have been thinking of two applications for microbes that might yield interesting results.

First, because  the first thing a tinker sees in a new town is his horse, I have been thinking about screen prints and slime molds. The idea would be to screen print either food or chemo-attractant and/or repellent compounds (see onto paper in meaningful pattern(s) and allow slime molds to propagate. Some applications of this might be:

  • printing the same pattern multiple times onto different sheets and seeing the range of actual “designs” expressed by ostensibly identical growing/moving molds
  • printing data visualizations, allowing the mold to “process” the data and then iterating the process by photographing the results and making a new print based on the observed behavior of the mold
  • printing one “attractant” image and one “repellent” image on top of one another

Second, we could devise a cellular automaton (a la Conway’s Game of Life) and then implement it with electrodes and paramecia – e.g. we take a grid of electrodes, turn some of them on, and then make modifications based on the actual response of actual organisms to the stimuli.