Although significant technical and ethical barriers impede our progress towards actualising useful biocomputers, the use of live biological substrates in the fabrication of novel computing devices is steadily transcending the barriers between science fiction and reality. Orchestrated Biocomputation documents studies on the design, fabrication and testing of prototype unconventional computing devices which utilise a live organism – the plasmodium of slime mould Physarum polycephalum – as their key constituent element. By harnessing the apparently "intelligent" behaviours these single-celled organisms are known to exhibit, slime mould computing devices shed light on how biological matter gives rise to complexity and, crucially, how to exploit it for practical benefit.
The research presented here provides a unique multidisciplinary perspective on the investigation and laboratory experimental manipulation of emergent biological processes that may be characterised as natural expressions of computation. It covers such diverse topics as the fabrication of bio-computer interfaces, "programming" cells to memorise and anticipate periodic stimulation, image manipulation through cellular morphological adaptation, and using nano-scale protein networks and cell signalling phenomena as the basis of logical circuitry.