Lifetime is a clock that simulates the behavior of cells at a microscopic level, where elements instead of dividing themselves by mitosis (a type of cell division), join together at each time unit (minute, hour) in order to create more complex organisms. In the project there are three different kinds of cells, and each one represents a time unit, respectively seconds, minutes and hours. The corpuscles can feel the distance between each other and move away at a different speed if the near body is the same kind (fellow) or a bigger one.
Interface and interaction modality
The interaction happens mainly between the cells, since they have a different behaviour depending on which other body they approach. The whole screen estate is occupied by these living elements and the user is only allowed to touch anywhere in the screen to order the cells in a grid and to read the actual time.
The bodies also are afraid of the “hand of god” (the mouse cursor), and they tend to run away from it. There are two different modalities of presentation, one with a white background and one with a black one specifically dedicated to large projections.
Lifetime is an application made with Processing, a java-based software created by Ben Fry and Casey Reas.
The user is more a spectator, the software looks like a simple cellular simulation until he touches the screen and realize that it is a clock.
Research and development contexts
If this clock was further developed with more complex algorithms, the model could be applied to real living organism or could simulate more complex living hierarchies.