Researchers pit microorganisms in deadly game of 'PAC-mecium'

At first glance, the so-called "biotic games" research conducted by a Stanford University team that's installed microorganisms into crude, real-life video games merely raises the question: Wow -- that's a job?

A summary of the team's experimentation on living organisms (red flag!) in this month's Lab on a Chip journal suggests that biotic games could "have significant conceptual and cost-reducing effects on biotechnology and eventually health care," not to mention that they could also "educate society at large to support personal medical decisions and the public discourse on bio-related issues."

Those sure sound like complicatedly-worded, yet noble goals -- or at least good cover for playing video games all day -- but we sense a distressing undertone in the work here. Just watch the clip (after the break) of the researchers' Pac-Man prototype clone, "PAC-mecium," wherein, ostensibly, a player would "guide" unwitting paramecia to happy-face yeast pellets and attempt to keep the poor protozoa from being devoured by a giant zebrafish larvae, or not.

It's pretty clear to us that the next "guinea pigs" in this diabolical plan will be mice, and then probably monkeys. The final stage? Gerard Butler.

[Thanks, Ken G]