Remember Tamagatchis, those little electronic pets on a keyring you strived vainly to keep alive and grow to adulthood? The Tardigotchi is its successor, but get this – it houses both a virtual pet AND a living organism, a tardigrade.
Otherwise known as a water bear or moss piglet, tardigrades are tiny eight-legged microorganisms that live in water and “walk” similarly to a bear. Both this and the virtual pet live in a spherical brass enclosure: the e-pet on an LED screen, the tardigrade on a prepared slide. The virtual organism is modelled after the water bear, and caring for it simultaneously cares for the real life version (for instance, feeding your pet feeds the tardigrade with a suspension of atomised moss particles, yum). The avatar’s movements are even partially triggered by its living companion.