Networked Limb

The Networked_Limb is a mobile device that allows you to network your sun exposure with a group of 5/6 people. Each of the nodes communicates to all the other devices via SMS every time it’s exposed to sunlight. On reception of that SMS limbs vibrate. Vibration across the network allows for a distributed skin to emerge; virtually it engenders a shared body. It is this concept that the project is meant to test: the idea of a networked body in which what happens to one of the limbs affects the whole system.


This project is created within the Symbiosis Research Lab. The SRL is an think tank carrying research on the relationship between sunlight, human bodies and machines. We are interested in finding ways to creatively exploit the potential for a symbiotic relationship among these entities. The effects of sunlight on human bodies have been widely studied within the field of psychiatry, photobiology, or endocrinology. Researchers have proved, for instance, the anti-depressant effects of bright light. At the SRL we are experimenting with strategies for survival in northern latitudes where sunlight is scarce.

How do we expect it to work:
– Encouraging nodes to increase their daily exposure times.
– Allowing for sunlight effects to spread over telecommunication networks, experimenting with the idea of contagion.


The sub_beta_release is a simplified version of the networked limb. It require that each node texts manually to the network when exposed. With this simple system we will be able to test the basic concepts: Is it possible to spill sensation over telecommunication networks? Can real-time haptic connectivity in a network allow for the emergence of a shared skin?



Each of the limbs contains the numbers of all the other limbs. One to one non-verbal communication is allowed although one to all communication is preferable. One-to-all communication will happen through AQL. Those of you who have phone plans with unlimited texts might want to text from your mobile phones. For those who are on pay as you go is better to use the credit on the limb. There is enough credit, please do not restrain yourself from ‘spilling exposure’.

Minimum Exposure (time)
The networked body needs a certain amount of exposure. However, this should be explored and decided among the limbs. Generally we should look at a minimum of 2 instances of exposure daily (on average).

Please note that all limbs need to be exposed at some point of the week. Limbs with extreme underexposure will be like gangrene for the networked body! The networked body will be able to handle a gangrenous limb up to a certain point. After that it might need amputation. This limit will need to be set by the body itself.

Minimum Exposure (intensity)
The intensity of the light will be measured in future releases with a light sensor connected to a microcontroller. For this sub_beta release the criteria should be: either blue sky or extremely thin cloud as to make it absolutely unbearable to look directly at the sun.

Instructions of exposure
Many of the biochemical process that are triggered by light (anti-depressant effects, non-visual light effects) are triggered by photoreceptors in the retina. The standard guidelines are that the source of light shouldn’t be more than 45 degrees from the line of sight.

* Behind Windows
We are at the moment unsure whether or not the anti-depressant effects of light are triggered when the subject is behind a window. For this release the criteria should be: even behind a window it will be considered limb exposure if the sun is directly visible and the node can feel the heat.

Frequency of spilling exposure (i.e. communicating with other limbs)
The number of times that the node wants to excite the networked body is not fixed. If the node is exposed for a long time, the time threshold between one message and the next one can range from 30 seconds to 30 minutes. More than 30 minutes will give the networked body a very slow rate of electrical circulation which will result in poorer health. Too high rate however can result in extreme energy and trigger episodes of mania.


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    olga [AT]
  • Bio

    Olga carries practical and theoretical research in the field of media arts. She works as a co-editor with while she pursues a practice-based PhD at Goldsmiths. Her research project looks into assemblages of sunlight, human bodies and machines. She is particularly interested on subtle modes of communication across bodies of radically different nature. She looks at the ways in which electronic circuits, computational systems, endocrine processes and neurological happenings intermingle. The tools she develops are speculations about the undercurrents of body communication.
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