The Slime Mould Collective

An international network of/for intelligent organisms

I've been tasked - at frighteningly short notice with taking Physarum to the Big Bang fair  ( first task, raise enough slime for around 3000 people to take away ).

Making mazes and looking at chemotaxis is relatively straight forward but not very 'instant', does anyone on here have direct experience with the sound synthesis and oscilloscope end of things as it produces a more immediate result



Views: 367

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

It sounds like my kind of thing: I write software interactive installations and live shows, so I'm kind of used to figure out ways to get sound and images out of weird inputs :) (here is some of the stuff I do: )

In my experience computer vision (i.e.: tracking its movement/ change in shape) is a quick and easy way to collect real time data; since the slime moves slowly, it would probably be a good idea to sonificate a "movement buffer" that goes back in time for at least a few minutes and constantly updates itself.

Depending on the sound texture that you want to create, the deadline and the slime setup we can probably think of other approaches too.

I've got until mid March - this got dropped on me at very short notice.  I  shoot a lot of time lapse with slime but I've not tried forming sound from one yet.  I have cameras,  microscopes and a rough understanding of Matlab programming and image j.  I've an entire university department to steal from which has got to be a help! 

I'm wondering if it's worth  laying  down some gold tracks in a petri dish and hooking up a slime to a galvanic skin response rig, there's a simple circuit that turns changes in resistance into noise.  

Given more time I'd love to hook one up to the robot arm that's been sitting on the shelf since I made it but that will have wait.  



Yes close dealines are always painful :) 

Galvanic response should work.
Also the time lapse could be interesting: simplest thing would be writing a software that keeps tracks of the bounding rect size  and the centroid position in every frame: this way you have a 3 dimensional data structure changing in time.

Simplest way to sonificate it would be using the collected data to drive a virtual instrument similar to a theremin, or an atari punk console. A more structured approach would be translating the data into midi to control a proper musical arrangement, but it would take more time (at least the time to write the music itself :) ).

Since the time lapse method gives you multidimensional data, it could be nice to produce also visuals in sync with the sound: a super easy (and quick!) example would be mapping bounding box radius, and centroid x,y to to the RGB components of a colored led strip.

Brilliant - we have plans :) I'm going to knock together a couple of simple galvanic response circuits and lay down some gold tracks onto petris so we can pick up changes in resistance as the slime crosses the tracks, it'll sound horrible as the circtuit is a single transistor oscillator job but I know it'll work. As a more ambitious plan I'll have a crack at making one of these - as it's slightly more tuneful.  I'm also knicking an electrophysiology rig and I'll attempt to read out the membrane potentials directly off a plasmodium

We're also planning on letting students take away slime in small petris and doing choice chambers with different foods - they can then upload their results and we can do a plot of what slimes do and don't like. 

I'm not sure how much slime I'm going to need for this but I have one and a half square metres ( in 25cm trays, not in one piece !) under culture in the study and an amazing tolerant other half. 

thanks for the ideas

Nice :)
One quick way to have better sound quickly would be buying an Arduino, install one of the freely available synth firmwares and connect the sensors.

Keep us updated with the show!

It's coming together, Just blagged a preview of a map of the show so I can try modeling crowd flow with physarum. 


I borrowed a full on electrophysiology rig, we can get a great signal off a plasmodium but even with long hair walking past is enough to cause trouble ( static ) so thousands of people in a hall is a bit of a no go. Could use a faraday cage but then noone can see anything... We'll go with choice chambers, maps, mazes and a resistance based noise thing

One thousand portions of slime made so far....


© 2022   Created by Heather Barnett.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service