Researchers at the University of Chicago have developed a smartwatch where certain features stop functioning if the living organism inside the watch is not fed.

smartwatch with living organism

Inside the watch is the organism Physarum polycephalum, also known as “the blob”, which must be fed every other day and given water twice a day to avoid drying out. If the organism does not receive enough nutrition, it dries out and the circuit that goes to the watch’s pulse meter sensor is broken, causing the pulse meter to stop working.

Integrating Living Organisms in Devices to Implement Care-based Interactions

The purpose of developing the watch was to investigate what they call “care-based interactions” and in their study, they write about the results after having some people test the watch:

Findings illustrated that the living nature of our device created friction but also allowed for a sense of responsibility, development of a reciprocal relationship, and a variety of aective responses. Our work highlights how designs around care can change the relationship between users and their interactive devices.

– human Computer Integration Lab

Read the full paper.

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