Wiglets: The Beauty of Biological Jazz and Artificial Life

This post also appears on Wiggle Planet’s Blog.  Check it out to learn more about Wiglets!

Life is about improvising.  We’re given a framework of reality to live in, some innate biology, and then whoosh we’re dropped into the world to do our thing.  What that thing is and how we actually do it is completely up to us to figure out.

Jazz is similar.  Start with a framework of musical concepts, add some instruments, and then jam your way to a magical moment of pure creative expression in music.  And you can even jam with other people.

The connection between jazz and life is immediately apparent to anyone who has watched a newborn try to stand and walk on wobbly legs.  Or following a flock of birds wheeling across the sky in a coordinated cloud of chaos.  Or the first time your dog finally managed to catch that frisbee, dropping it proudly at your feet and gazing directly into your eyes with a cocked head, ready for another throw.

Being part of such moments gives us joy, because we are surrounded by improvisational life,  full of movement and growth and interaction and creativity.

This is why I’m fascinated by Wiglets.  

And why I think the world will be, too.


Wiggle Planet is creating Wiglets as a platform for incredibly fun experiences with mobile devices.  Wiglets are self-animated, moving with all the beauty and jazziness of biological creatures.  They have their own DNA and can evolve through natural or selective breeding.  And they can move freely between on-screen game environments and physical-world locations using augmented reality.

Wiglets combine all the beauty and complexity of biological jazz with the innovative possibilities of artificial life and the fun of games.

At a recent e-Learning conference, I gave a keynote presentation on the power of designing digital experiences that speak to our brain’s natural way of seeing the world.  In short, we love to be surrounded by life.  We are deeply satisfied and feel joy when watching living creatures doing their thing in the world.  And even more so if we can reach out and interact with them through touch.

Wiglets give us a new opportunity to create these magic moments.  Don’t believe me?  Watch these two videos and then think about how they made you feel.

So how can you get your hands on Wiglets?

There are some demo mobile apps you can download right now on the Wiggle Planet website, as well as a Wiglet-enabled book and T-shirt on the Wiggle Planet Store.  Much more will be coming soon, so stay tuned.

If you happen to be a developer who’s into writing games with Xcode and might be interested in taking some Wiglet code for a spin, please drop me a line.  Starting this month I’ll be helping Wiggle Planet with community development and creative advice, so expect to see me blogging more about Wiglets in the future.  Jeffrey and I worked together at Linden Lab, and I’m tickled pink to be able to brainstorm with him again as well the rest of the Wiggle Planet team.

Is your curiosity piqued?  Have questions?  Please leave a comment for us, and thank you for your time.

Take care,
 – John “Pathfinder” Lester