The Slime Mould Collective

An international network of/for intelligent organisms

When I started to work with P. Polycephalum I build an elevated, acrylate enclosure that allowed me to slip pieces of paper underneath to help me create designs of oatmeal, along the lines of the famous Tokyo subway experiment. It looked like this:

Below left it has a grate to allow for gas exchange but keep insects out, and there is a plastic lid in it that I filled with water to keep the environment moist. A lasercut, Netherlands-shaped acrylate sheet guided the first experiment. I filled the enclosure with salty agar, put the Netherlands sheet on top with regular agar and distributed oats on the locations of major cities. Major lessons: 1. A grate does not keep spores out; 2. you don't need extra water; 3. acrylate warps after a short period of time. I think slime mold metabolic processes are at work here, but specific information would be welcome!

So onto the second version. Made of Delrin, which is inert to many chemicals. I also used cottonwool instead of the grate of a faucet to allow gas exchange but no entry for living things.

Regrettably, Delrin is nigh impossible to glue. I used glass instead of acrylate for the transparant parts, but found too many sharp edges of the glass were exposed.

Third's a charm! A combination of lasercut mdf and glass, with an aluminum rim to keep the slime mold in instead of the salty moat of the previous versions. You can find the svg file here, should you want to make your own version.

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Comment by Jan-Maarten Luursema on August 31, 2017 at 15:45

Thx! I am curious what you use, in the Creeping Garden documentary it looked like you house them in tall enclosures of thick acrylate.. would you mind sharing your insights?

Comment by Heather Barnett on August 29, 2017 at 14:01

Thanks for sharing your enclosure design, and the trials and tribulations of the experiments leading to the successful version! It's often the simpler solutions which work best. :)

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