Resurrection of the biomorphs
“ The biomorph experiment was one of the first ‘apps’ that demonstrated the fundamentals of evolution as described by Darwin. It’s sad to think what else we may have lost on the way”
Medical Director, PRAESENTIA
It’s interesting to think what has been lost since the internet began. It has been 30 years since Richard Dawkins published ‘The Blind Watchmaker’ and then went on to write his biomorph algorithm to demonstrate evolution in action. These were let loose upon the public at the inaugural Artificial Life conference at Los Alamos in New Mexico in 1987. Back then we hadn’t set the standards that the internet and the world wide web would grow by and the biomorph programme (having been written in Pascal) fell foul of being in the ‘wrong standard’. It was lost but now Penguin has brought the critters back.
The biomorph programme allowed the user to start with small stick creatures and through selective evolution, by choosing the father and mother of the next generation, ultimately ending up with something that resembled an insect. 20 years later having read D’Arcy Thompson’s book ‘on growth and form‘, Dawkins developed a similar programme for evolving shells. Thompson’s book described how three indices plotted inside a cube described any shell structure. Penguin to celebrate the relaunch of three of Dawkins’s key books; The Blind Watchmaker, Climbing Mount Improbable and Unweaving the Rainbow have also resurrected the shell algorithm along with the biomorphs. This can be found at www.mountimprobable.com. The website allows the user to enter a special competition, to create their own biomorph or shell.
The programmes and the books are still valid today as when they were first launched. The biomorph experiment was one of the first ‘apps’ that demonstrated the fundamentals of evolution as described by Darwin. It’s sad to think what else we may have lost on the way.
- http://www.mountimprobable.com/ (accessed 13th June 2016)
- Fastest industry standard optical fiberon May, 2023 at 4:54 pm
An optical fiber about the thickness of a human hair can now carry the equivalent of more than 10 million fast home internet connections running at full capacity.
- Source-shifting metastructures composed of only...on May, 2023 at 4:54 pm
Acoustic source-shifters make observers mis-perceive the location of sound by reproducing a sound emanating from a location different from the actual location of a sound source. Researchers have now developed a design approach to produce high-performance source-shifters using a common polymer for […]
- Astronomers discover last three planets Kepler...on May, 2023 at 4:54 pm
With the help of citizen scientists, astronomers discovered what may be the last three planets that the Kepler Space Telescope saw before it was retired.
- Robot centipedes go for a walkon May, 2023 at 9:18 pm
Researchers show how their multilegged walking robot can be steered by inducing a dynamic instability. By making the couplings between segments more flexible, the robot changes from walking straight to moving in a curved path. This work can lead to more energy-efficient and reliable robotic […]
- Absolute vs. relative efficiency: How efficient...on May, 2023 at 10:32 pm
The absolute internal quantum efficiency (IQE) of indium gallium nitride (InGaN) based blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs) at low temperatures is often assumed to be 100%. However, a new study has found that the assumption of always perfect IQE is wrong: the IQE of an LED can be as low as 27.5%.
- Using AI, scientists find a drug that could...on May, 2023 at 6:15 pm
Using AI, researchers identified a new antibiotic that can kill Acinetobacter baumannii, a type of bacteria that is responsible for many drug-resistant infections.