Final project concept – Ants

I am very interested in how we, as humans, use other animals as a tool in order to experiment and to accumulate more knowledge about our world. Many different kinds of animals (and organisms) are being used as a research tool in labs (bats, mice etc,). Recently, I became interested in ants. Ant is a unique organism especially since a colony of ants counts as superorganism (i.e. an organism consisting of many organisms). In other words, it acts as a group. I am also interested in ants as a metaphor to human society.

At first, I thought of using the ants as buttons. The audience will be able to control their movement and by that operating a wider system. However, brainstorming with other people led me to think that changing this interaction between the user and the ants can create interesting experiences. Another idea that I drew from consulting my friend is to map the ants as individuals. She showed me that in the ant’s lab, each ant has a bar-code stuck into its back. In that way, one can track one specific ant.

I also thought of  projecting an image of the ants in real time in large scale as part of an optional output of the feedback loop. Projecting a large scale of an ant will reveal a different point of view on the ants.

Ants are perceived as insignificant or as pests. While searching for ants in the art, I run across the following video that made me want to change the way we see them.


I wish to create a large ant farm where the ants will be inside of tubes that are spread around and connected like a network. In such way, the ants can be found in different heights or levels. I made a sketch with several different ideas:



Light, food and synthesized pheromones can be used in order to effect the ants movement. The ants will have the power to control the outer environment and to effect us. I would like to enable a two ways interaction. both can initiate the interaction.

Categories: Physical Computing

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *