Most smartwatch users will not forget to charge their smartwatches. But what if the smartwatch requires a different kind of “charging” such as feeding and watering? This may result in an entirely different relationship.
Feeding and watering are what this smartwatch requires to function. It sounds absolutely biopunk-ish, you know, like something straight out of Vesper. The watch, which does not have a formal name, is not quite a smartwatch per see.
It is more like a digital watch with a heart rate sensor and oh, it is kind of powered by slime mold aka physarum polycephalum. I said kind of because it is not entirely so. More on that in a bit.
The wearable gadget was developed by Jasmine Lu and Pedro Lopes at the Human Computer Integration Lab in the University of Chicago’s Computer Science Department.
The project, called Integrating Living Organisms in Devices to Implement Care-based Interactions, explores how incorporating care-based interactions can change the user’s attitude and relationship towards an interactive device.
And the care here would be feeding and watering which entails feeding the slime with oats every two days and watering it 1-2 times a day.
When the slime mold grows, it forms an electrical wire that enables the heart rate sensor to function. And yes, it would appear that only the heart rate sensor is dependent on how well the living organisms are striving. The time, however, isn’t affected.
But that is not it; the availability of the sensing depends on the slime mold’s health which is a direct result of the user’s care. It is kind of like Tamagochi but the consequences of non-care are more than piling poops, hunger, and a dead (digital) creature.
The lack of care would result in the living organisms dying and therefore, the heart rate sensor will stop functioning. However, it can be resuscitated if the user resumes the care.
The experiment also involved participants wearing the slime-mold integrated smartwatch for 9-14 days and the researchers found that some users actually became quite attached to the device.
But the point is not to discover a new way to conduct electricity or power a wearable; it is about caring for the device as opposed to just treating them as yet another replaceable gadget – if that makes any sense at all.
Image: YouTube (HCintegration).
via Yanko Design.