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Scientists Made A Pac-Man Maze For Microorganisms

Scientists Made A Pac-Man Maze For Microorganisms

At first glance, the maze built by researchers at University College of Southeast Norway looks just like the one in the classic Pac-Man game. There are important differences, however. Instead of Pac-Man, there are green, rod-shaped Euglena and round, silver Ciliates, each a type of single-celled organism. Instead of being hunted by Ghosts, they're hunted by big multicellular rotifers. And instead of being the size of an arcade console, the maze is only 1 millimeter in diameter. The project might sound silly, but the researchers had good reasons for creating the Pac-Man maze. For one thing, a rich environment with walls and channels to maneuver through gives scientists a better idea of how the animals behave in the wild than a plain petri dish would. This, in turn, serves as a demonstration of how micro- and nano-systems technology can make for better biological research. Explore the science of microorganisms in the videos below.

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Microscopic Pac-Man Maze

University College of Southeast Norway / Adam Bartley

Microscopic Pac-Man

Watch single-celled organisms flee from multicellular rotifers in a teeny-tiny game of Pac-Man.

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How Do Microbes Move?

Learn how different microorganisms get around (through some pretty silly interpretive dance).

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What Can We Learn By Watching Bacteria?

Find out what scientists have discovered about the way certain bacteria behaves.

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