Combine an ECG headset with an Arduino to control paramecia!

Paramecia display a behaviour known as galvanotaxis: movement in response to an electrical field. If an electrical field is generated across the water they are swimming in, they will turn to orient themselves to the field and will swim towards the cathode (negative terminal).

The mind control mechanism takes advantage of this: I developed a laser cut stand with a small (14mm x 14mm) well in it to hold paramecia. By placing electrodes (pencil leads) on each of the four sides of the well and attaching them to four I/O pins on an Arduino, I can use the Arduino directly to send 5V at a few tens of mA through any pair of electrodes. This establishes a field of about 3.6 V/cm, which is right in the sweet spot of the field strength that paramecia respond to.

Build instructions here. [via Hacked Gadgets]

John Baichtal

John Baichtal

My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal nerdage.net


  • Phil

    That is so cool!

  • http://mark.rehorst.com Mark

    I wonder if the author has considered the moral implications of forcing these harmless, innocent creatures to do his bidding? Does his device cause the paramecia any pain?

    • http://CircuitRFQ.com mark

      some testings and studies on paramecium involved induced electrical sources.. on the contrary they react on induced potential differences.. and i think it does not cause the paramecia in pain..

    • http://CircuitRFQ.com mark

      water is present everywhere..they are most abundant in it.. plants do have this organisms, so if you’re vegetarian, you’re eating them…^_^