It will be crumpled. I’m writhing. It behaves like some sort of multi-tactile horror from the black lagoon. It’s … a mass of black worms.And just in time Halloween!!
California black worm (Lumbriculus variegatus) Is a type of unpretentious aquatic worm, typically less than about 1.5 inches (4 centimeters) in length. However, when threatened by environmental stressors such as drought, these worms weave together to maintain moisture and protect each other. It’s creepy enough, but these masses can also move in what researchers call “emergent movement.” No one is in charge, but worm blobs can guide themselves to a more comfortable environment by simply interacting with their closest neighbors.
Now, the researchers understand that the worm can pull it off with a combination of carefully tuned wiggles and clinging.
Chantal Nguyen, a postdoctoral fellow at the BioFrontiers Institute at the University of Colorado at Boulder, said:
The results can be used to develop soft, swarm-like robotics with many small, simple parts that work together.
Various types of worms gather to ensure safety when the environment becomes hostile (Take a look at the composting blog For more information on earthworm “balls”). However, few are documented to move as one when in these clusters.However, California’s black worms can attract thousands, and the resulting blobs appear to have their own minds, according to a study published in a journal in February. Minutes of the National Academy of Sciences.. The study found that black worm masses essentially act like non-Newtonian fluids, or fluids that vary in thickness depending on the amount of stress they receive. (The classic kitchen formula for this liquid contains a mixture of cornstarch and water. Cornstarch hardens when squeezed suddenly and becomes liquid when you move your finger slowly.) That is, many worms They are firmly attached to each other. It behaves a bit like a solid, but when loosened a little it becomes like a liquid.
Nguyen joined Georgia University researcher Yasemin Ozkan Aidin and M. Third Bamura, who led the study, to model the movement of these worm masses.
“It looks really cool to see this huge chunk of these worms gliding around,” Nguyen said. As she was working on modeling collective systems, the opportunity to apply that work to worms seemed intriguing.
First, the research team experimented with individual worms to see how they move at different water temperatures. This was to collect data on the actual worm movement into the final computer model. In water below 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius), worms tended to search. They usually started in a straight line until they hit the wall of the dish they were in, and then snorted around the edge. Beyond 86 F, the worm coiled and hardly moved. Temperatures above 93.2 F (34 C) turned out to be dangerous and ultimately fatal to living worms.
Next, researchers studied how real worm masses react at different temperatures. At low temperatures below 50 F (10 C), the worms clumped together. At 77 F (25 C), they were a little relaxed and loose, but they were together. At high temperatures near the limits of viability, they were quickly unraveled into individual coils.
Researchers then used these behaviors to create computer models of worms that could bend, self-propell, and interact. Nguyen says the model was two-dimensional rather than three-dimensional, so it didn’t accurately represent the black worm mass. — In deep enough water, the blob can be spherical. However, researchers have found that a mixture of self-propelled wriggling and insect clinging can reproduce the movements found in real insect masses. Researchers have created a temperature gradient in the world of virtual worms so that one side of the model’s worm blob enclosure is cooler than the other. They first simulated a single worm and found that the automatic movement of the worm at different temperatures led to the worm “finding” the cold side. The cooler the enclosure, the more straight the worm can direct its movement.
Next, the researchers simulated a mass of worms. They found that blobs also tend to move to colder water. But to do so, they had to wiggle just enough to move their congregation without breaking it apart.
“We could only see the worm mass moving as an aggregate from hot to cold,” Nguyen said, only because of the very delicate balance between the active force and the gravitational pull between the worms. rice field.
According to Nguyen, the next step is to make the model 3D and start developing robots based on the strange movements of the worm. In the field of robotics, there is a great deal of interest in swarm robots. Swarm robots are simple individual robots that interact with each other to complete more complex tasks than they can perform on their own. There is also great interest in soft robots inspired by nature. Soft robotics is a promising biomedical technology because of its flexibility and flexibility, Nguyen said. She said the worm blob is a combination of both swarm robotics and soft robotics.
“Soft swarm robotics is a very open field of study, as many of today’s swarm robotics systems are made up of rigid elements,” she says.
The findings were published in the journal on September 30th. Frontier of physics..
Originally published in Live Science.
Thousands of California worms wriggle into super blobs Source link Thousands of California worms wriggle into super blobs