Science is awesome. Having a better understanding of the world around us is key to sustaining life on Earth. Science allows us to cure disease, combat dangerous bacteria, and explore the universe. It can also lead to some pretty amazing discoveries, like this Pac-Man game that can only be seen through a microscope. Pac-Man has been eating up allowance money since the 1980s, and if you ask the high score champion of the Pac-Man machine in the Julioberto’s Mexican food restaurant on 7th Avenue and Osborn in Phoenix, Arizona (which is me), it’s become one of the most influential and beloved games of all time for a reason.
There’s something universal about Pac-Man’s simplicity that has apparently made its universality a tool for scientific discovery. According to Real Clear Life:
Researchers at University College Southeast Norway’s Institute of Micro and Nano System Technology were studying the behavioral patterns of protozoans, or single-celled organisms, and pseudocoelomates, the multi-celled organisms that prey on protozoans. In an effort to better observe them (and have a little fun in the process), the team turned the experiment into a Pac-Man–like game. “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,” said Professor Erik Andrew Johannessen, the project’s team leader.
Using nanostructures to build walls, the researchers created the maze just one-millimeter wide. Then, the microscopic organisms were introduced into the game. The protozoa play the role of “Pac-Man”—specifically euglena and ciliates—while the predatory, multi-celled rotifers sit in for the “ghosts.”
Check out a video of the microscopic Pac-Man below.
Source: Real Clear Life