Evolve a pet
This design project was carried out for client Keira Cheetham from Illumina, winning the prize for most impressive professional achievement in the group design project competition 2014.
The goal of this project is to create a game that teaches GCSE or A level science students about genomes and genomic sequencing. The idea is for a number of users to run evolutionary optimisations (possibly genetic algorithms) that optimally combine the favourite features of their pets ‐ or perhaps even alien species! As with dog breeding, there may be some genetic trade‐offs between functional and aesthetic attributes. Local optimisation to meet a particular user's preferences can take place on individual users' computers ‐ perhaps mobile phones, or even Raspberry Pis. Once a desirable local optimum has been reached, users should be able to select which part of the genome to exchange with their friend's pets. Exchanges could simply take place online, but it might be more interesting to require a physical meeting ‐ exchanging genetic material via Bluetooth, with a network cable that directly connects one Raspberry Pi to another, or some other form of ad hoc networking.
Undergraduate group design projects