Cyano-Chromic Interface: Aligning Human-Microbe Temporalities Towards Noticing and Attending to Living Artefacts

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Microbes offer designers opportunities to endow artefacts with environmental sensing and adapting abilities, and unique expressions. However, microbe-embedded artefacts present a challenge of temporal dissonance, reflected by a “time lag” typically experienced by humans in noticing the gradual and minute shifts in microbial metabolism. This could compromise fluency of interactions and may hinder timely noticing and attending to microbes in living artefacts. In addressing this challenge, we introduce Cyano-chromic Interface, in which photosynthetic activity of cyanobacteria (Synechocystis sp. PCC6803) is timely surfaced by an electrochromic (EC) material through its monochromatic display. Grounded through interface performance characterization and design primitives, we developed application concepts through which we instantiate how the interface can be tuned for diverse functional and experiential outcomes in living artefacts. We further discuss the potential of aligning human-microbe temporalities for enriched interactions and reciprocal relationships with microbes, and beyond.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDis '23 Proceedings of the 2023 ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference
EditorsD. Byrne, N. Martelaro
Place of PublicationNew York, NY, USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-9893-0
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Event2023 ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference (DIS'23) - Pittsburgh, United States
Duration: 10 Jul 202314 Jul 2023


Conference2023 ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference (DIS'23)
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • cyanobacteria
  • human-microbe interactions
  • temporality
  • living media interfaces
  • microbial displays
  • Biological-HCI
  • microorganisms
  • surfacing livingness


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