Tardigotchi - Physical
Tardigotchi is an artwork with three main components: (1) a portable sphere that can be carried around by an owner; (2) a docking station; and (3) software that runs on a PC.
1 - Portable Sphere:
The portable sphere features a microOLED display interfacing with an Arduino Mini microcontroller. This microcontroller runs the virtual environment for the alife avatar featured in the microOLED display. Just behind this display is a small biosphere for a tardigrade microorganism composed of glass and silicon. These items are housed within a brass spherical construction.
2 - Docking Station:
The docking station is used to feed the Tardigotchi, recharge its batteries, as well as to place it within Bluetooth/USB proximity of a PC. A metallic needle affixed to a glass syringe sits at the end of a mechanical apparatus. The syringe is filled with a watery medium clouded with atomized moss particles. The feeding cycle is initiated by pushing a button on the sphere, which in turn activates miniature motors that guide the needle into the tardigrade’s biosphere, replenishing its nutrients.
3 - PC:
Any PC can run the Processing Applet that iteratively sends Web commands to a server. If new activity is detected from the tardigrade’s email or social networking accounts, a signal is sent over Bluetooth to the portable sphere and a miniature incandescent light is illuminated. The USB cable can be connected to recharge the batteries contained in the sphere.