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BIOPLASTIC FANTASTIC — Between products and organisms (2014)

As interactive products are growing closer and closer to the body, and scientists are making advances in the use of biological matter in materials suitable for product design, it feasible that soon biochemical processes will be taking place in and on our technological devices.

Bioplastic Fantastic investigates new types of products and interactions which might emerge from these material innovations in the fields of bio- and nanotechnology. It speculates about the future design and use of domestic products made from enzyme-enhanced bioplastics. The concept is based on a recent scientific breakthrough in the synthesis of functioning “biological” cells made from polymers and enzymes.

Halfway between products and organisms, seven “biological devices” produce all food and energy needed for humans to survive simply by being exposed to light (through artificial photosynthesis). They produce water, vitamins, fibre, sugar, fat, protein and minerals through biological processes.

 

The devices are designed to be part of a biologically influenced domestic space, and their aesthetics are not machine-like or lab-like, to emphasise their domesticity and the design opportunities that might arise with these new types of materials: to make design more sensual, and less technical, less industrial. The loss of the natural sensuality of traditional food is substituted by a designed, artificial sensuality.

All of the device designs are based on bacteria which have similar functions in nature. They use the functional part of the biological circuit (enzymes), and combine this with non-living matter (bioplastic).

Rather than being a proposal or a solution, the project aims at asking questions and provoking discussions about which kinds of applications of bio- and nanotechnology we would want to be part of our future everyday lives.

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The seven products:

1. ‘Rhod’ – produces fat — biological process copied from Rhodococcus bacteria

2. ‘Cyan’ – produces sugar & oxygen — biological process copied from Cyanobacteria

3. ‘Pseu’ – extracts water from air — biological process copied from Pseudomonas bacteria

4. ‘Caul’ – produces protein — biological process copied from Caulobacter bacteria

5. ‘Gluc’ – produces fibre — biological process copied from Gluconanacetobacter bacteria

6. ‘Lith’ – extracts minerals from rocks — biological process copied from Lithotroph bacteria

7. ‘Lact’ – produces vitamins — biological process copied from Lactic acid bacteria

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–> click here to see research & diagrams
–> click here to see the film

© 2014