More Tamagotchi Than Smartwatch

Researchers explored how physical care for a living organism, embedded as a component on a wearable, also changes user-device relationships. The team engineered a smartwatch that includes a slime mold that physically conducts power to a heart-rate sensor inside the device — acting as a living wire. The catch? The availability of heart-rate sensing depends on the health of the slime mold.

“People were forced to think about their relationship to devices in a lot of really interesting ways,” said Jasmine Lu , a fourth-year graduate student in Asst. Prof. Pedro Lopes’ Human-Computer Integration Lab.