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Did you know you can make a simple computer out of a swarm of soldier crabs?

by Laura Domela

April 13, 2012 at 5:07 PM


Did you know you can make a simple computer out of a swarm of soldier crabs? I sure didn't, and I'll bet you a fresh seafood dinner that the crabs themselves had no idea either. But some enterprising researchers from Japan have shown that it is possible to make a crabputer. Practical? Maybe not so much.

Yukio-Pegio Gunji and his colleagues from Kobe University in Japan somehow figured out that when two swarms of soldier crabs run into each other, they merge into one single swarm that continues moving at a speed and direction that is the sum of the velocities of the two original swarms. For the crabs, it's just an instinct, but that instinct can be harnessed to create a very primitive sort of computer that can perform logic operations.

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