Battery & Electrification Technology

It’s Alive! — and Must Stay so to Work

Researchers have been incorporating care-based interactions to change the user’s attitude toward an interactive device. The team investigated by engineering a smartwatch that includes a slime mold that physically conducts power to a heart-rate sensor. However, the sensing depends on the health of the slime mold; a study was conducted during which participants wore the smartwatch for 9-14 days. Watch to see what happened.

“With our devices, we can engage in a lot of different forms of care, like cleaning and taking care of them, or repairing them when they’re broken,” said University of Chicago scientists Jasmine Lu. “But a lot of the ways that consumer devices are designed now, those aspects of care are less focused on or are made inaccessible; they are made so that you trash them, instead of engaging with them more. So I definitely think there is a design takeaway of focusing on this aspect of caring for devices instead of just consuming them.”