Towards a slime Mould-FPGA interface
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The plasmodium of slime mould
is a multinucleate single celled organism which behaves as a living amorphous unconventional computing substrate. As an excitable, memristive cell that typically assumes a branching or stellate morphology, slime mould is a unique model organism that shares many key properties of mammalian neurons. There are numerous studies that reveal the computing abilities of the plasmodium realized by the formation of tubular networks connecting points of interest. Recent research demonstrating typical responses in electrical behaviour of the plasmodium to certain chemical and physical stimuli has generated interest in creating an interface between
and digital logic, with the aim to perform computational tasks with the resulting device.
Through a range of laboratory experiments, wemeasure plasmodial membrane potential via a non-invasive method and use this signal to interface the organism with a digital system.
This digital system was demonstrated to perform predefined basic arithmetic operations and is implemented in a field-programmable gate array (FPGA). These basic arithmetic operations, i.e. counting, addition, multiplying, use data that were derived by digital recognition of membrane potential oscillation and are used here to make basic hybrid biologicalartificial sensing devices.
We present here a low-cost, energy efficient and highly adaptable platform for developing next-generation machine-organism interfaces. These results are therefore applicable to a wide range of biological/medical and computing/electronics fields.
KeywordsPhysarum polycephalum Digital electronics Machine-organism interface Unconventional computing
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