Alberto Candido Back
The Adaptive Machine
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● 2019 ● Physical computing ● Interaction design ● Speculative design
● 2019 ● Physical computing ● Interaction design ● Speculative design

The Adaptive Machine
A speculative installation that investigates human and design.

For my Master's thesis research, I investigated how the human being has systematically been re-designing itself through the act of design. As a part of the research, I built an interactive device which simulates and visualise how the human body would evolve to adapt to certain environmental changes set up by the users. The machine produces, through a genetic algorithm, a generative output in the form of a small A4 size poster which contains the different parts of the adapted human body.

The device has three input knobs that control environmental parameters such as space, temperature and information, the user can manipulate those variables and then generate the form that humans would have to acquire to adapt to a such new environment, this output can then be printed. The process can be iterated infinitely where every human figure is unique and is the result of all the previous evolutionary steps.

The genetic algorithm has been written in Python language while an Arduino board has been used to handle the input/output data stream.

1. technical drawings of the device components and the installation setup.

2. Some examples of generated outputs.

2. An example of generated outputs.

In 2019 I had the chance to take part in the exhibition "What Makes Humans Human?" held at BASE Milano which collected speculative design projects on the theme of what defines what means as human. The exhibition provided a valuable chance to test the installation gathering comment and feedback from visitors that interacted with it. In 2022 the project was furthermore selected for the exhibition "Il mestiere del grafico — oggi" held at Triennale Design Museum in Milan.

3. Set up for "What Makes Humans Human?” exhibition at BASE Milano (2019).

4. "Il mestiere del grafico — oggi" exhibition at Triennale Design Musem Milano (2022).