Artificial intelligence may have bacterial robotic brains

Scientists at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University used a mathematical model to show that bacteria can control the behavior of an inanimate device - such as a robot.

Basically, researchers were trying to figure out from a mathematical model whether it would be possible to build a microbiome, deploy it on a robot, and control it. The idea is bold even in theory. But, amazement: it has everything to work.

According to Warren Ruder, assistant professor of Biological Systems Engineering, studies have shown that robots can certainly be able to have a working brain.

For future experiments, Ruder is building real robots that will have the ability to decode information at bacterial levels using miniature fluorescent microscopes. Robots are expected to respond to bacteria.

On a broader scale, understanding the detection of biochemistry between organisms could have profound implications in areas such as agriculture, biology and (obviously) robotics.

Implications of the new artificial intelligence

In agriculture, for example, robot-bacterial systems could allow studies that explore the interactions between soil and livestock bacteria.

In healthcare, a greater understanding of the role of bacteria in controlling bowel physiology may lead to bacterial-based prescriptions for treating mental and physical illness. Ruder also predicts that robots, if so controlled, could perform tasks such as implanting bacteria to remedy oil spills.

The findings also contribute to research on bacteria in the human body, which we believe exist to regulate health and mood, and especially the theory that these microorganisms also affect our behavior.


The study - although initially based on a theoretical mathematical model - was inspired by real-world experiments where the mating behavior of fruit flies was manipulated through bacteria, as well as the behavior of mice, which exhibited minor signs. stress when taking probiotics.

Ruder's approach was truly surprising in revealing decision-making behavior simulated by a computational mathematical model with equations that describe three distinct elements: bacterial-modified gene circuits E. coli, bioreactors and the movement of robots.