Active Living Infrastructure: Controlled Environment (ALICE)


Web-based interactive artificial life animation and soundscape, physical installation powered with microbial fuel cells.

Active Living Infrastructure: Controlled Environment (ALICE) is a “living” installation that communicates with microbes in real time by feeding them with our waste. Drawing together microbial metabolism, data, bioprocessor systems, artificial intelligence, low power electronics and digital displays, ALICE reveals the invisible realm of microbes around us using the Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC), which is an organic battery powered by microbes.

Appearing as lively animated characters called “mobes,” we can enjoy electrically-enabled inter-species conversations and activities with them. This communications system means we can have a digital conversations with microbes about household resources, which can give us data about our consumption, and what we discard in our waste streams—while also powering our homes and cities.



2021 Digital Design Weekend at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK

2022 Electromagnetic Field, Eastnor, UK


A collaboration with Newcastle University & Bristol Bioenergy Centre, University of the West of England, Southampton University, KU Leuven


The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement no 851246


  • Ioannis Ieropoulos (Professor of Bioenergy and Self-Sustainable Systems and Director of the Bristol BioEnergy Centre, at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, University of Western England, UWE)
  • Rachel Armstrong (Professor of Experimental Architecture, University of Newcastle)
  • Professor Rolf Hughes (Director of Artistic Research / Experimental Architecture Group, Leuven University)
  • Pierangelo Scravaglieri (PhD candidate in Experimental Architecture, University of Newcastle)
  • Dr Jiseon You (Research Fellow, UWE)
  • Arjuna Mendis (Senior Research Technician, UWE)
  • Stephen Wolff (Max Gate Digital / Translating Nature)