Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mechanical Tumour Expands As Computer Crunches Numbers

Growing human body parts in a lab is a relatively new procedure, but one Japanese artist has already taken the process further by growing a 'lifeform' beside his PC. Mechanical Tumour – designed by Mio Lizawa – communicates with a PC’s CPU and responds to peaks and troughs in processing demand by either expanding slightly or shrinking. The artificial excrescence - which looks like a cross between a human brain, a Yorkshire Pudding and something out of Blake's 7 - isn’t real, of course, but its movements mean it looks the part.
Inside Mechanical Tumour is an actuator motor and air compressor, the artist said. Open lots of files and run a video, and the PC’s CPU will start working harder. This forces the air compressor to push more air into the tumour, which expands. Shut all the applications down and the tumour will shrink back down again, the artist added. The Mechanical Tumour hasn’t been designed for mass production, but wire in a USB connection and we’re sure plenty of online gizmo retailers would be interested.