First-order Feedback Systems

“In order to achieve a goal, a system must be able to sense its environment, compare what it senses (current state) to a model of its goal (desired state), and to act in a manner that moves closer to the goal. As a shorthand, we refer to systems that are so organized as “cybernetic systems”. In general terms, a system experiences disturbances from its environment that move it away from its goal. The system must be able to respond so that it can achieve its goal despite the disturbance.” – Paul Pangaro

This week in DIY Health we covered an introduction to cybernetics and first-order feedback loops.

Our assignment is to create 2 diagrams of 2 different systems that include automatic feedback.

System 1

Identify an existing system that relates to the theme, goal, and/or set of behaviors that you’re considering for your final project: a self-care system. For example, I’m thinking of doing a self-care system around losing weight and so I might diagram a first-order feedback loop where a body scale was involved.


System 2

Find an existing system that’s completely out of your domain of interest. This system can be observable to you in the environment or it can be something that you research.