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Student plays video game on bugs

by on01 February 2024


A boffin from MIT has tried to turn a bunch of bugs into a telly to play the classic shoot-em-up game Doom, .

But before you get your hopes up, there's a snag. The gut bugs are so slow that it would take over an hour to show one picture of the game - and a whole day to reset them.

Lauren "Ren" Ramlan, a biotech whizz, has made a simulation of E. coli bacteria that can glow in the dark. She arranged them in a tray with 32 rows and 48 columns, like tiny light bulbs. She then programmed them to switch on and off to show images from Doom.

The bugs are so sluggish that playing Doom on them would take nearly 600 years, according to Ramlan's simulation. She said it takes "a total of 8 hours and 20 minutes for the cell to return approximately to the starting state."

While the original game runs at a smooth 35 frames per second, this bug display is so frosty that you'll be longing for the good old days of dial-up internet. Although to be fair – they are bugs.

Ramlan is hopeful about the future, though, and thinks she can make the bugs faster. But for now, E. coli are better suited for a very, very slow art show than any fun gaming.

So, for now, it might be best to stick to normal screens for your gaming needs, unless you have a few incarnations to waste on a single game.

Last modified on 01 February 2024
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