PETER MENZEL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PETER MENZEL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Simulated evolution. Media Lab researcher Jeffrey Ventrella uses a computer program to make animated cartoon characters evolve. Set up in 1985 at the USA's Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Media Lab carries out cutting-edge research into ways people might interact with the computer- driven media of the future. One of Ventrella's projects is to design moving characters with life- like gestures and individual personalities. To do this he is using a program that assigns "genes" to an animated character and allows it to reproduce with mutations. By selecting the best in each generation Ventrella can make the character's movements gradually evolve into any desired style.
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