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Living machinesA handbook of research in biomimetics and biohybrid systems$
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Tony J. Prescott, Nathan Lepora, and Paul F.M.J Verschure

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199674923

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199674923.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 15 October 2019

From slime molds to soft deformable robots

From slime molds to soft deformable robots

Chapter:
(p.390) Chapter 40 From slime molds to soft deformable robots
Source:
Living machines
Author(s):

Akio Ishiguro

Takuya Umedachi

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199674923.003.0040

An autonomous decentralized control mechanism, where the coordination of simple individual components yields non-trivial macroscopic behavior or functionalities, is a key to understanding how animals orchestrate the large degrees of freedom of their bodies in response to different situations. However, a systematic design methodology is still missing. To alleviate this problem, we focus, in this chapter, on the plasmodium of a true slime mold (Physarum polycephalum), which is a primitive multinucleate single-cell organism. Despite its primitiveness, and lacking a brain and nervous system, the plasmodium exhibits surprisingly adaptive and versatile behavior (e.g. taxis, exploration). This ability has undoubtedly been honed by evolutionary selection pressure, and there likely exists an ingenious mechanism that underlies the animals’ adaptive behavior. We successfully extracted a design scheme for decentralized control and implemented it in an amoeboid robot with many degrees of freedom. The experimental results showed that adaptive behaviors emerge even in the absence of any centralized control architecture.

Keywords:   autonomous decentralized control, bio-inspiration, amoeboid locomotion, true slime mold

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