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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

The New Smartwatch That Runs on a Living Organism: Tamagotchi Meets Technology

Smartwatches are becoming an increasingly integral part of our daily lives, but what if our gadgets required us to care for them in the same way we care for our pets? Scientists at the University of Chicago have recently developed a smartwatch that not only tells time and measures heart rate but also requires the user to care for the living organism that powers it.

Inspired by the Tamagotchi, the 90s digital pet sensation, the researchers built a similar device into a wristwatch, but this time, the organism inside is truly alive.

The Tamagotchi-inspired smartwatch uses an electrically conductive single-cell organism known as slime mold. When the mold is fed a mixture of water and oats, it grows and forms an electrical circuit that activates the heart rate monitor function. If the mold is ignored, it goes dormant, and the circuit is cut off.

This new device is more than just a technology experiment; it is also a scientific investigation into the relationships people have with their modern gadgets.

The scientists behind this project, Jasmine Lu and Pedro Lopes, aimed to explore if bringing tech gadgets to life in a literal sense would change the way we think about them.

They found that, by forcing users to care for the living organism inside the watch, they developed a deeper connection to the device and felt a sense of responsibility towards it.

This creates a new way of interacting with technology and challenges the traditional view that gadgets are just disposable, impersonal objects.

In conclusion, the Tamagotchi-inspired smartwatch by University of Chicago scientists is an innovative combination of art and research that pushes the boundaries of human-computer interaction. By using a living organism to power the device, the scientists have opened up new avenues for exploring our relationship with technology.

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