Autonomous droplet architectures

Jones, Gareth, King, Philip H., Morgan, Hywel, de Planque, Maurits R.R. and Zauner, Klaus-Peter (2015) Autonomous droplet architectures Artificial Life, 21, (2), pp. 195-204. (doi:10.1162/ARTL_a_00156). (PMID:25622015).


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The quintessential living element of all organisms is the cell—a fluid-filled compartment enclosed, but not isolated, by a layer of amphiphilic molecules that self-assemble at its boundary. Cells of different composition can aggregate and communicate through the exchange of molecules across their boundaries. The astounding success of this architecture is readily apparent throughout the biological world. Inspired by the versatility of nature's architecture, we investigate aggregates of membrane-enclosed droplets as a design concept for robotics. This will require droplets capable of sensing, information processing, and actuation. It will also require the integration of functionally specialized droplets into an interconnected functional unit. Based on results from the literature and from our own laboratory, we argue the viability of this approach. Sensing and information processing in droplets have been the subject of several recent studies, on which we draw. Integrating droplets into coherently acting units and the aspect of controlled actuation for locomotion have received less attention. This article describes experiments that address both of these challenges. Using lipid-coated droplets of Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction medium in oil, we show here that such droplets can be integrated and that chemically driven mechanical motion can be achieved.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1162/ARTL_a_00156
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Organisations: Nanoelectronics and Nanotechnology, Agents, Interactions & Complexity
ePrint ID: 364114
Date :
Date Event
5 January 2015Accepted/In Press
22 May 2015Published
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2014 10:19
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2017 13:57
Further Information:Google Scholar

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