Luca Migliore


Your city is an organism.

  • Laboratory of Interaction Design, Iuav University in Venice (Italy)
  • Professor: Gillian Crampton Smith and Philip Tabor
  • When: from October 2012 to December 2012
  • Teammates: Sabina Begovic, Dante Fusco and Mariano Viola
  • Technology involved: Processing and Adobe Creative Suite

Polimeteor is a mobile app that represents the city and its behaviors metaphorically, as an organism. The system allows users to learn a biological language to comprehend the organism and build a symbiotic relationship with it in order to understand the biological trends of the organism/city in which they live.

How it works
Polimeteor is able to take the weather data in live time, the climate modifies the shape and colors of the creature. The user activity modify the behave of the application, an intensive usage of the application can modify the conduct of the creature, it can change from to sad to nervous to happy.
So the same city could appear differently to users, that have a different relationship to Polimeteor.


The functions of our app are the key for setting the relationship between the organism and the user, in order to make the data visualization simple and understandable.

What the system can do:
• Collect weather data through sensors placed around the city
• Communicate this data to the user through the topological mutation of the organism
• Show basic emotions, like happiness, sadness and nervousness
• Show the change of trends using data from the past three months

What the user can do:

• Live with the organism to understand its language and behavior
• Set a symbiotic relation with the creature

The user can explore the organism, understanding the way it tries to give him information. He can read the meaning of the bones of the creature and the data that it shows. He can also see, by exploring the shape of the little animal, how the trends change over time.

Polimeteor is structured on the concept of “Symbiosis”. For this, the interactions are all consequences of the behaviour of the creature and that of the user. Our creature has three different states: happy, nervous and sad. These states can obviously change, but they depend on the behaviour of the user—how often he visits his creature.

User Interface

For the final design, we decided to have minimal graphics, with no fixed elements on the screen, because we wanted to make our organism the center of the attention of the user so he or she can concentrate on the creature that flows around the screen, studying its movement and shape, trying to understand what it is showing and what is the current mood of the little animal.

Organism System

We designed the shape of our creature in the easiest way possible, in order to allow it to give visual informations about the biological trends in an understandable way. For this we thought at some basic geometrical shapes, that were easy to modify in relation to the data that the organism show. We decided this also to make our animal generative.

My Role

I cooperated with the other team members in creating a strong concept. I was then responsible for finding and understanding the weather data. With Sabina and Dante, I created the plankton, trying to transform the data into something visual. I made the first animation of the plankton in order to see how it could be animated and how the user could interact with it. With Sabina, I was responsible for the context-of-use video, focusing on the post-production and video editing. With Dante, Sabina and I shot and edited step-through video.
For the coding, I helped Mariano by writing the emotional status math used to generate different behave of the creature.
I think that in this lab I experimented a lot about data visualization, sometimes helped by motion graphic, sometimes by just static graphics. I collected and analyzed a different kind of data, trying to understand the story they contained. In future, I would like to be able to create beautiful and natural movement by coding, as I can do with motion graphic software