Lamps with Sex Lives Blend Science and Design

August 27, 2012

What do you get when you cross a short, fat lamp with a tall, skinny lamp? Nothing, silly, lamps can't breed ... until now. 

Ryan Schenk is a freelance computer programmer and modern art aficionado who likes to blend his skills and passions. For example, as an undergraduate, his senior thesis was an interactive kinetic sculpture consisting of computer-operated cameras hanging from the ceiling; they sensed people under them and moved upward to call attention to the space people in the gallery occupied.

But back to those lamps with sex lives. Ryan's latest project is called Breedlight. He created an algorithm that works like regular genetics — you give it any two "parent" lamps, it crosses them, and the result is an "offspring" lamp with a unique combination of its parents' traits. Just as with humans (with the possible exception of identical twins), no two breedlights are exactly the same. And Ryan even draws parallels between our skin and skeleton, and the paper sheath and wood frame that makes up the lamps.

Ryan isn't quite convinced Breedlight is art — maybe something more in the engineering and design realm. Either way, I'd pay for the geek factor to have one of these lamps in my living room. I also think Ryan's printouts of Breedlight family trees would make fabulous wallpaper.


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