A microscale Pac-Man maze filled with miniscule prey and predators that fight to the death has been invented by Norwegian scientists, in a bid to learn more about how microbes behave in their natural habitat. Jim Drury reports.
Launched in 1980, Pac-Man is one of the most famous computer games of all time. University College of Southeast Norway researchers have recreated it in microscopic form, using microbes. This version is less than a millimetre in diameter. Single-celled Ciliate and Euglena species swim through a maze of nutrient rich fluid. Multi-cellular Rotifers chase them through the labyrinth. The team says the project was fun, but had a serious scientific purpose. Making the microbes overcome obstacles could help us learn how they move in their natural habitat. The team now wants to digitally trace the microbes' paths round the maze in a bid to understand their decision making.