Heather Barnett creates art with slime mold — a material used in diverse areas of scientific research, including biological computing, robotics and structural design.

Why you should listen

Heather Barnett creates fascinating biodesigns with the semi-intelligent slime mold. While it has no brain nor central nervous system, the single celled organism, Physarum polycephalum, shows a primitive form of memory, problem-solving skills and the apparent ability to make decisions. It is used as a model organism in diverse areas of scientific research, including biological computing, robotics and structural design. “It is also quite beautiful,” says Barnett, “and makes therefore for a great creative collaborator. Although ultimately I cannot control the final outcome, it is a rather independent organism.“

Heather Barnett’s TED talks