Bio-reactors: converting waste into food

Someone should make a game about this:

Autoclavable bench-top laboratory bioreactor used for fermentation and cell culturesSpace scientists propose technology which converts human waste into food:

… A Penn State research team has shown that it is possible to rapidly break down solid and liquid waste to grow food with a series of microbial reactors, while simultaneously minimizing pathogen growth.

“We envisioned and tested the concept of simultaneously treating astronauts’ waste with microbes while producing a biomass that is edible either directly or indirectly depending on safety concerns,” said Christopher House, professor of geosciences, Penn State. “It’s a little strange, but the concept would be a little bit like Marmite or Vegemite where you’re eating a smear of ‘microbial goo.'”

… They reported in Life Sciences in Space Research that they grew M. capsulatus that was 52 percent protein and 36 percent fats, making it a potential source of nutrition for astronauts.

… [The process is] “quite robust and fast and breaks down waste quickly,” said House. “That’s why this might have potential for future space flight. It’s faster than growing tomatoes or potatoes.”

[Source: Microbes may help astronauts transform human waste into food @ Pennsylvania State University]

I like the phrase “series of microbial reactors” — it suggests a series of challenges that the player must overcome — a microscopic Mario, jumping from microbe to microbe, rescuing wayward proteins, defeating evil pathogens, turning that waste into food so the astronauts can reach Mars (where they will continue to eat microbial goo).

[Image: Autoclavable bench-top laboratory bioreactor used for fermentation and cell cultures. By Miropiro, www.bioreactors.eu, www.bioreactor.ch, www.lambda-instruments.in – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29055211.]

Creating bacterial ‘fight clubs’ to discover new drugs

“Creating bacterial “fight clubs” is an effective way to find new drugs from natural sources.”

Bacteria Fight ClubThat is the conclusion of a team of Vanderbilt chemists who have been exploring ways to get bacteria to produce biologically active chemicals which they normally hold in reserve. These compounds are called secondary metabolites. They are designed to protect their bacterial host and attack its enemies, so they often have the right kind of activity to serve as the basis for effective new drugs.

… the “fight club” approach [analyzes] what happens when microbes compete.

… This procedure allowed the chemists to discover a new member of a class of biomolecules with broad-ranging activity ….

[Source]

Via Slashdot.

This could be modeled as a game, either for pure entertainment — fight, bacteria, fight! — or as an aid to research (with bacteria fights!).

Coffee shop construction toy belongs in a videogame

Coffee Shop Construction Toy belongs in a game

Geometric object constructed from coffee stirrers and straws.

Simple, efficient, useful, elegant: Bucky Fuller would smile and approve the design.

This beauty deserves a home in videogames.

To me, it practically radiates game implications — efficient geometry for object modelling, practical design for in-game assembly of parts into functional units, layouts for bot pathing, etc.

Be inspired! Make a game!

I’d pay to play that game.

[Via Make, via Boing Boing]

OpenWorm

“OpenWorm is an open source project dedicated to creating a virtual C. elegans nematode in a computer.”

openworm.orgOpenWorm Logo

Via Boing Boing:

Wagner James Au sez, “OpenWorm, as the name suggests, is a collaborative open source project to computationally create a simple artificial life form — an earth worm — from the cellular level to a point where it’s sophisticated enough to solve basic problems. They’re still in early stages, with the latest demo, a developer on the project tells me, being ‘a particle simulation of five connected muscle segments moving together through a body of water.'”

See also Caenorhabditis elegans @ Wikipedia:

Caenorhabditis elegans /ˌseɪnɵræbˈdɪtɪs ˈɛlɛɡænz/ is a free-living, transparent nematode (roundworm), about 1 mm in length, which lives in temperate soil environments.
Caenorhabditis elegans (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:CrawlingCelegans.gif)

Yes. The Handy Vandal approves. More of this, please.

Update: October 14, 2013

I added this post to the “Somebody Should Make This Game” category.

Modeling a nematode is fine, hooray for Science.

But man does not live by Education alone — we also need Entertainment.

Can I get a giant weaponized self-assembling cyber-nematode as a first-person shooter, in a secret weapon-breeding hive beneath a Soylent Green factory? Anyone …?

I’d pay to play that game!

Quasi-Objects of Lorenzo Oggiano

“La vita è un processo reale e autonomo indipendente da qualsiasi specifica manifestazione materiale.”*
— Lorenzo Oggiano

Quasi-objects of Lorenzo Oggiano

“Quasi-Objects” regards data actualization, the production of biologically non-functional organisms and ecosystems as transient output of an operative practice: aesthetics of process…

lorenzooggiano.net

I find these forms entirely fascinating, and practically begging for game design applications.

The forms are computer generated. I have no further details, nothing about the software involved. But just from looking at these still photos, I can see algorithms at play which would make a terrific Boss Battle in a first-person shooter … The Blob meets The Matrix ….

Somebody ought to make a game based on these principles. They really should. I would pay to play such a game, and then pay more for the source code.

Via Boing Boing, via but does it float.


* “Life is a real and autonomous process independent from any specific material manifestation.”

Motorcycles out of watch parts

These lovely objects belong in a game somewhere. They really do:

motorcycles out of watch parts, by dkart71

motorcycles out of watch parts by dkart71

Someone, please, make a game where the player constructs a motorcycle made out of watch parts, and then rides to safety:

  • Shrink the player until a wristwatch is the right size for motorcycle parts
  • Drop the player into a magical (high-tech, alien, etc.) wristwatch factory
  • — My person favorite: neo-retro Evil Nazi wristwatch factory
  • Remind the player that watch parts can be assembled into motorcycles
  • Sound the burglar alarm
  • Start winding up the clockwork watchmen, make it loud
  • Remind the player that watchmen are dangerous, and motorcycles go faster than watchmen
  • Every so often, wind up more clockwork watchmen, as incentive for the player to finish that motorcycle ….

If the player doesn’t build a motorcycle in time … well, bad things probably happen … if it were my Evil Nazi Wristwatch factory, I would release the Giant Wind-Up Chattering Teeth … but you have your own kind of fun, and be sure to let me know about it, I’ll award you the Handy Vandal Medal of Supreme Coolness.

Via Boing Boing.

Obsolete

Obsolete by Paul Hynek

Obsolete (2006)

This belongs in a game somewhere. It really does.

Pawel Hynek’s 2006 image “Obsolete” depicts a homeless robot begging for electrical power; it’s striking and funny as well as a little uncomfortable-making.

Cory Doctorow @ Boing Boing

I’m reminded of William Gibson’s novel Mona Lisa Overdrive, where we encounter The Finn (a character from earlier Gibson novels) now incarnated as a back-alley machine personality construct:
(more…)

Caution The Floor Is Now Lava

Caution The Floor Is Now LavaI would love to find this “Caution The Floor Is Now Lava” sign in a first-person shooter game.

Who will make such a game? Someone? Anyone?

I can’t pay you, but I will award you the Handy Vandal Medal for Doing Extremely Cool Stuff.

Seriously: you’ll get your own blog post, with a picture of you and your work (maybe a picture of you ignoring the sign, and slipping on the lava — whatever you like).

Link to original @ reddit by flipswitch

Via Laughing Squid.