Tag: Guided Growth

Rachel Armstrong
Guided Growth

Interview: Rachel Armstrong, Innovative Scientist Who Wants to Grow Architecture

The next guest in our interview series is Dr. Rachel Armstrong, interdisciplinary practitioner and sustainability innovator. Armstrong’s work uses all manners of media to engage audiences and bring them into contact with the latest advances in science and their real potential through the inventive applications of technology, to address some of the biggest problems facing the world today. She designs solutions for the built and natural environment using advanced new technologies and smart chemistry.

You may know Armstrong from her essay Self-Repairing Architecture and her research in living architecture and protocell technology, a new material that possess some of the properties of living systems and can be manipulated to grow architecture.

We recently talked with Rachel Armstrong about living buildings, Venice’s foundations, millennial nature and how to improve our future.

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Leeches are the new beauty
Guided Growth

Engineering Beneficial Parasites

Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite that causes rats to become less afraid of cats. It also might change the behavior of humans, making women more outgoing and warmhearted, while men get jealous and suspicious. Toxoplasma gondii is shed in cat feces, which get eaten by rats. Infected rats become fearless to cats and then get caught easily, thus completing the parasite’s cycle through its different hosts. If a parasite can make you feel friendly, what other unusual benefits might they have?

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Sitting on Tofu

Tofu is a soy-based food typical of Asian cuisine, rich in protein, known and appreciated especially by vegetarians and vegans. We already know this. What we didn’t know is that, if dehydrated, tofu also becomes a good material to build furniture. 

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Burned Microchip

Microchips Learn to Repair Themselves

Right now, one of the reasons that robots and other artificially intelligent devices cannot qualify as living beings is their inability to self-repair. However, a recent breakthrough from the Caltech High-Speed Integrated Circuits laboratory have brought us one step closer to the reality of machines that can cure themselves after being damaged.

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Living lamps like Latro Algea Lamp by Mike Thompson are nothing new. But design studio MADLAB has created Bacterioptica, a lamp that contains organisms and bacteria from the family that owns it.…

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moss table creates electricity

Moss Table Powers Its Own Lamp

When moss photosynthesize, they release nutritious fats, carbs and proteins into their roots to feed colonies of helpful, symbiotic bacteria. In the process of breaking down these compounds, the bacteria release electrons.…

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biomech 03 1998_03_INSIDE

Protocell Shoe Mends Itself

The self-repairing sole is a dynamic solution to an everyday problem.

The ‘proto-sole’ is suitable for all footwear ranging from mainstream consumer trainers to haute couture footwear. It consists of a fluid reservoir, like a bubble, which is situated in the heel of the shoe, where the ingredients to make the active agents ‘protocells’ are pumped by the foot and mixed on demand as they leave the storage vessel. The newly formed protocells move through the spongy sole of the shoe where they are delivered to and activated at sites of wear and tear.

Protocells are a form of organic hardware that is not technically ‘alive’ since they do not possess any DNA. Yet they are capable of life-like behaviour that draws from the self-organizing potential of their ingredients. In keeping with Stuart Kauffman’s notion of ‘order for free,’ the protocells are equipped with remarkable, emergent properties such as, movement, sensitivity and the production of microstructures.

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