As part of its Digital Creators contest, Canon has come up with Iconobloc, a digital sculpture controlled via the internet by participants from around the world.

Each visitor to the site simply chooses a bloc, names it and then controls its position within the digital sculpture, which currently contains 51 other blocs from participants in countries including France, Germany and Luxembourg.

In a similar vein to digital pets, but with no character or personality, the bloc, or so-called 'digital being', is awarded a certain amount of health and love points by its user.

The 'mood' of the bloc, which alters its shape, is affected by how quickly its maker answers questions sent to their email account.

The project is intended to promote Canon's Digital Creators contest, held in Tokyo on 6 December, which encourages users to submit the most creative ideas in either the photography, graphics, movies or web design category.

A €20,000 (£12,580) prize awaits the winner of each category.