crab powered computerWait a minute here, does this mean once I am done with my homework on a computer, I can eat it? After all, isn’t that what a crab-powered computer is all about? This unusual concept comes about after Yukio-Pegio Gunji of Kobe University in Japan and colleagues had an Eureka moment – whenever two swarms of crabs collide, they will merge and continue in a direction which is the sum of their velocities. This particular behavior translates to a possible model of unconventional computing that is based on colliding billiard balls, where 0s and 1s are represented by the absence or presence of a swarm of crabs.

Originally testing out the idea with simulated crab swarms, the OR gate is the place where one or two crab swarms are merged into a single one, and it worked successfully each time. As for the far more complicated AND gate, it will require the combined swarm heading down one of three paths, and naturally, was not as reliable as the OR gate. When experimenting with swarms of 40 actual crabs which were placed at the entrances of the logic gates, where they were prodded to move along by a looming shadow that resembled a predatory bird overhead, the end results were pretty close to what the simulation came up with.

Seems like crab-powered computers are a very real possibility in the future, although there would be a fishy smell about it.

Filed in Computers.
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