Pac-Man has been in the game for 36 years now and several individuals around the world have already tried to remake it. However, none of them so far have been able to re-imagine the game to the extent that a Norwegian researcher has.
A researcher in Norwegia has come up with a microscopic version of Pac-Man. That is, the entire game designed by the researcher takes place in a maze which is less than a millimetre wide and is filled with predatory microbes that hunt each other.
The project called "The Protozoan Pac-Man" involves Euglena and Ciliate species play the titular role, which the role of the ghosts that hunt them through the maze familiar to all is played by multicellular rotifers.
The experiment carried out by a researcher from the University College of Southeast Norway was captured on a film with the help of micro-scenography. Meanwhile, the walls of the maze were highlighted with neon lights to resemble the one from the original game and to make the microbes clearly visible from a microscope.
The researchers say that the project was initially designed with a partial purpose of raising awareness of what they do and to draw people's attention to the field. However, they also wanted to showcase how micro and nano systems technology could be used to create a three-dimensional environment.
Typically, scientists grow microbes in a petri dish and observe them on a flat surface, It is more like studying an animal in a cage rather than in the original, wild environment. The Norwegian researchers believe that providing microbes hurdles and obstacles in their path may lead to new insights into how they behave in their natural environment.
The recent experiment proved that indeed. While the single-celled microorganisms still moved randomly, the rotifers changed their behavior over a period of time. As they became used to the environment, they moved more confidently than usual.