The green algae balls (Aegagropila linnaei), known as Marimo, are large spherical colonies of live photosynthetic filaments, formed by rolling water currents in freshwater lakes. Photosynthesis therein produces gas bubbles that can attach to the Marimo, consequently changing its buoyancy. This property allows them to float in the presence of light and sink in its absence.
We demonstrate that this ability can be harnessed to make actuators, biosensors and bioprocessors (oscillator, logic gates). Factors affecting Marimo movement have been studied to enable the design, construction and testing of working prototypes.
A novel actuator design is reported, incorporating an enhanced bubble retention system and the design and optimisation of a bio-oscillator is demonstrated. A range of logic gates (or, and, nor, nand, xor) implementable with Marimo have been proposed.
Phillips, N., Draper, T. C., Mayne, R., & Adamatzky, A. (2019). Marimo machines: Oscillators, biosensors and actuators. Journal of Biological Engineering, 13(1), https://doi.org/10.1186/s13036-019-0200-5