C. elegans is a little worm with a simple nervous system that allows it to find food (and do other useful activities) as it wriggles around in wet soil. The WormWorx app simulates the worm’s locomotion system and the part of its nervous system that senses the food that it likes (bacteria) by the “scent” of dissolved salt that comes from the bacteria. The worm follows the scent to the food.
The muscles that make it move and the nerve cells (neurons) that sense the salt and control the muscles are called its neuromuscular system. The worm actually has 302 neurons but we only need to look at some of these to show how the worm can “steer” toward food. We also have 12 pairs of muscles along its body that rhythmically contract to move the worm.
Neurons talk to each other by connections called synapses. How they are wired is called a connectome. Your job is to change the strengths (or weights) of the synapses to allow the worm to steer properly.
This is a sequel to the massively popular WormWorx app! It also uses a more biologically plausible simulation.