FastCoDesign/ YouTube /PhysarumMachines

Physarum polycephalum is a slime that spreads out in search of food, and as it does so it uses "the shortest, quickest, and strongest paths." Andrew Adamatzky, a professor at the University of the West of England, has used the "many-headed slime" to explore the efficiency of road networks in several countries. He's also used salt, a toxin to the mold, "to model what should happen when things go wrong," Shaunacy Ferro writes. "When the mold detects salt, it strengthens other networks or reroutes in response, providing insight into how transportation planners might prepare a contingency plan."

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