Ever-Changing Sceneries with Microbots

Yunus Emre Duyar
April 28th 2015

Does the illustration above pique your interest? Then, you should hear the story behind it. Kirsten Zirngibl's illustrations depict imaginary landscapes that are formed by microbots, which can be fed with new data to change the scenery entirely. Zirngibl explained that the piece above, called Microzoo, is made of microbots entirely.

By forming into "swarms", these microbots can send information to their neighbor bots, act as part of a fluid consciousness, receive command from humans but also function independently. The overarching aim of the concept is to create a world that can be transformed in an instant. Regarding her influences behind the project, Zirngibl said:

"I am fascinated by swarm intelligence/emergence, as well as the structure of colonies (coral, slime mold, artificial life simulations like Conway's). How close could one approach abstract thought with this architecture? I also am heavily inspired by fractals! Fractals, especially 3D ones, are tied to how swarms self-assemble to maximize certain attributes like surface area. They will help sell the idea that they are "alive" to an extent. (I actually used fractal software to help make part of this piece.) I was also inspired by Lego growing up and am interested in how to make the most out of a relatively small variety of parts."

Her motives in creating such a project is to re-think the way nano/microbots are handled in science fiction and provide an optimistic take on the subject. Currently, she is looking for a creative writer to help her pin down the story behind the project.

Story via io9. Image via deviantART

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