Sallyportal: Madly Blogging Reed



Inside the Mind of a Microbe

Crescent Loom, a neuroscience game invented by Wick Perry ’13, lets you animate rudimentary creatures by wiring up neurons, muscles, and sensors. Along the way, you see how simple circuits can generate complex behavior.

My creature is flailing.

It’s a slapdash concoction of tendon and bone, with floppy appendages and mismatched eyes. Its pathetic brain consists of nine—count ‘em—nine neurons. I have armed it with stingers, harpoons, and suckers, but this arsenal has so far proven utterly worthless, because I haven’t yet figured out a much more basic problem-- how to get the damn thing to propel itself through this alien ocean. Meanwhile, a sleek six-flippered monster (dubbed “the Kraken”) darts dangerously near, pulsing with menace. Unless I can find a way to rewire its brain, my creature (the “Mike-crobe”) is headed for extinction.