Tamagotchi toys were less about simulating the fun of having a pet, and more about the stresses of keeping your pixelated responsibility alive for as long as possible. I’m still no good at it, and presumably neither is Dmitry Morozov, because he built a machine that automatically cares for a Tamagotchi’s every need, keeping it alive and powered for infinity.
Umbilical Digital looks like a creation straight out of The Matrix, and in a way, it’s not that far off from the machines that kept humans alive in that fictional universe. A series of five Tamagotchi toys are hard-wired to an Arduino control board that uses evolving algorithms to care for the creatures, continually pushing the requisite buttons to keep the digital dependents fed, nurtured, and perpetually alive.
But unlike The Matrix, where humans were kept alive as a source of heat and power, keeping the Tamagotchis alive doesn’t have much benefit for this machine. The only thing it produces is a long thermal tape printout of every interaction between the algorithm and the creatures, documenting the evolution of the family and what keeps them content.
It’s more an electronic art piece than anything, but I’ll vouch for any machine that leaves me with one less responsibility in life.