True-slime-mould-inspired hydrostatically coupled oscillator system exhibiting versatile behaviours

Takuya Umedachi, Ryo Idei, Kentaro Ito, Akio Ishiguro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Behavioural diversity is an indispensable attribute of living systems, which makes them intrinsically adaptive and responsive to the demands of a dynamically changing environment. In contrast, conventional engineering approaches struggle to suppress behavioural diversity in artificial systems to reach optimal performance in given environments for desired tasks. The goals of this research include understanding the essential mechanism that endows living systems with behavioural diversity and implementing the mechanism in robots to exhibit adaptive behaviours. For this purpose, we have focused on an amoeba-like unicellular organism: the plasmodium of true slime mould. Despite the absence of a central nervous system, the plasmodium exhibits versatile spatiotemporal oscillatory patterns and switches spontaneously among these patterns. By exploiting this behavioural diversity, it is able to exhibit adaptive behaviour according to the situation encountered. Inspired by this organism, we built a real physical robot using hydrostatically coupled oscillators that produce versatile oscillatory patterns and spontaneous transitions among the patterns. The experimental results show that exploiting physical hydrostatic interplay - the physical dynamics of the robot - allows simple phase oscillators to promote versatile behaviours. The results can contribute to an understanding of how a living system generates versatile and adaptive behaviours with physical interplays among body parts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number035001
JournalBioinspiration and Biomimetics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Sept


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