Life-Like

Simulation

Lifelike_splash_13

Virtual creatures evolving through generations of competitive living.

DEADLINE: NOV 2006  |  EXHIBITED BY: NOTCH FESTIVAL (BEIJING 2009), KONTUR FESTIVAL (2006) AND HALFMACHINE (2006)

Evolutionary computation has been around since the 1970's, yet there has been no commercial breakthrough in the field of evolutionary toys. It is my belief that digital world simulations inhabited by evolved beings will be popular objects in future homes, hopefully not replacing the ant farm and gold fish tank.

Life-Like was an attempt to design and prototype such an evolutionary toy. The project was developed for my bachelor graduation in interactive media at Kolding School of Design and it was since exhibited in a media art context.

While working with genetic algorithms I had the pleasure of rediscovering the beauty of natures own design tool. The basic mechanism is so simple, yet it has the capability to create all the complex lifeforms on our planet. Unless you set out to study the gradual change from A to B the only rational conclusion is magic, Devine intervention and other swear words. Future projects in this genre will hopefully re-educate a creationist believer or two.

The genetic algorithm implemented in Life-like is limited by the constraints of an arthropod body structure. However this is enough to generate some variation.

Thanks

Daniel Øhrgaard, for assistance at the Halfmachine exhibition. Esra Gökçen, for helping me build the multi-touch screen box and making me smile. Daniel Shiffman, for posting his example on implementing genetic algorithms in the processing environment.