Ken Rinaldo comes from an artistic family background, and later studied computer science and communications, where he was influenced by James Grier Miller, one of the founders of the Living Systems Theory. Another major influence were the ideas of Marcel Duchamp - when creating work could be based on conceptual thinking. Rinaldo considers himself trained as both artist and scientist. His work lies at the intersection between nature and technology, the an-organic. His robotic and bio-art installations seemingly seek to merge the organic and electromechanical in emergent systems.
His works include Augmented Fish Reality (2004), which allows Siamese Fighting fish to use intelligent hardware and software to move their rolling robotic fish tanks around the room under their control, thus exploring interspecies and trans-species communication. Autopoiesis (2000) consists of fifteen interacting robotic sound sculptures, an artificial life robotic series, that employs artificial life programming to manifest evolved behaviors and the idea of group consciousness.
Rinaldo's works are influenced by living systems theories, interspecies communication, artificial life research, and the idea of emergent properties. His work engages with ecological issues often overlooked in favor of technological progress, something he defines as deriving from a symbio-technoetic philosophy.
Ken Rinaldo heads the the art and technology program of the Department of Art at Ohio State University. For his work, he received the first prize for Avida 3.0 2001, an international competition on Artificial life and an award of Distinction from Ars Electronica Austria in 2004 for Augmented Fish Reality. He has received numerous grants and awards, and his work shown internationally, and has been widely written about.