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July 21, 2010 / Martijn

Artificial cells communicate and cooperate like biological cells, ants

Inspired by the social interactions of ants and slime molds, University of Pittsburgh engineers have designed computational models of artificial cells capable of self-organizing into independent groups that can communicate and cooperate to transport chemicals and drugs.

The Pitt group’s microcapsules interact by secreting nanoparticles in a way similar to how biological cells signal to communicate and assemble into groups. And with a nod to ants, the cells leave chemical trails as they travel, prompting fellow microcapsules to follow. The “signaling” cell secretes nanoparticles known as agonists that prompt the second “target” microcapsule to emit nanoparticles known as antagonists.

via Artificial cells communicate and cooperate like biological cells, ants « KurzweilAI.

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