An international network of/for intelligent organisms
I am a master's student at Carnegie Mellon University working on a project with a collaborator involving usage of slime molds to simulate gentrification in a city. Both my collaborator and I are complete novices in terms of using slime molds so this site is an invaluable resource. We had a couple of questions about the implementation of our project and would greatly appreciate any assistance:
1) our current plan is to have the slime mold grow over a vacuum formed topology of a city environment, and systematically introduce food sources as certain metrics indicating gentrification change/expand over time. attached is an image of prototype we are testing to see how the mold traverses the vacuum formed material (styrene). next to the sytrene model is the cnc milled wooden model of the same topology--we put a dormant slime mold on there as well and some food just to see what would happen. we are storing both of these models in a dark enclosed box with a cup of water present to provide humidity.
question: is styrene a sub-optimal material for slime mold to grow on? if so, would covering the styrene in agar allow the mold to survive, but gravitate towards the food sources? does the thickness/application technique of agar layer matter?
2) we want to place a projector underneath our model and use projection mapping to show a color map of various gentrification related metrics on the topology.
question: given the light sensitivity of physarum, would this be problematic? can we minimize/eliminate this problem by only using light of particular wavelengths/intensities?
we really think this project has the possibility to turn out very cool, and would sincerely appreciate any assistance or advice y'all could give us.