NORWAY – Forget the joystick and grab a microscope. We’ve recently seen the big screen version of Pac-Man in a movie called “Pixels” last year. Now researchers from the University College of Southeast Norway have downsized the classic 80’s arcade game. This new Pac-Man is just one millimeter in diameter, can fit inside a Petri dish and is full of teeny tiny little organisms. Talk about going from geeky to creepy.
The part of Pac-Man is now played by single-celled creatures called ciliates and euglena. They travel around a nutrient-filled maze, gobbling up all that they can. Well, until the scientists unleash the ghosts. Or in this case, multi-celled organisms called rotifers to eat the Pac-Men. Why build something so small? To see how these little buggers behave.
According to Professor Erik Andrew Johannessen, “Our goal was to create a more natural, three-dimensional environment for these creatures to be examined in, where they would encounter obstacles, walls and canals just like they would in their natural habitat.”
So, to create a more natural environment for these microscopic creatures, scientists found inspiration in a classic video game. A-maze-ing.