The Next Nature network is admirably raising awareness of the fact that our received and even critical understanding of nature as something opposed and underlying culture (“old nature”) is outdated – if it ever has been valid. Following this, the project wants to take the insight further by insisting that because nature has always been cultural, the next step is to embrace and celebrate how cultural artifacts are (and always have been) escaping control, becoming autonomous, and thereby forming the eponymous “next nature”.
By TERE VADÉN
After investigating how to regrow bones with silk, biologists found out that zebrafish, a tropical fish native to the Himalayan region but very common in tanks, could be studied for the same purpose. In fact, this aquatic species has the amazing ability to regenerate lost appendages, such as fins.
Researchers at the University of Oregon discovered that this process is applicable to human bones as well.
After the Modernistic Watermelon and the Cubic Fruit, Japanese farmers have designed the pentagon-shaped orange. These citrus fruits called Gokaku no Iyokan, which means “sweet smell of success in exams”, were given as a good luck charm for students in the upcoming entrance exam season in Yawatahama, Ehime.
Flat sided fruits seem to have some positive aspects: they are easier to put into a box or in the refrigerator than round fruits, and their peculiarity could encourage people to eat them, arousing curiosity. We guess in the near future more fruit varieties will develop angles!
Source: Daily Mail
Another breakthrough in the fusion of the made and the born: the world’s first completely artificial heart was recently transplanted in France in a patient nearing the end of his life.
Lithium-battery powered and self-regulating, the heart mimics the human organ like no other device. It is made from soft biomaterials and functions with the aid of a multitude of sensors designed to copy every little detail of a real beating heart, explain its chief engineers Alain Carpentier and Philippe Pouletty. This transplant is a significant moment for regenerative medicine, representing the first viable alternative to a real transplanted heart.
Read more on RT
Gather mushroom spores, grow them in a mold with agricultural waste, and you’ve just created the newest alternative to toxic styrofoam packing. The mushroom enthusiasts over at Ecovative have figured out a way to harness the abilities of mushroom root systems, called mycelium, to bind together organic substrates. By drying these mushroomy matrixes, Ecovative can create a material that’s strong, lightweight, and most importantly, cost-competitive with petroleum-based packaging. The company hopes to branch out into shoes, surfboards, furniture and building materials. A house that sprouts shiitakes and chanterelles is just a nice side benefit.
Read the full story over at Architect’s Newspaper.
While vegetarian food products typically mimic existing meat products, the meat flower reverses this principle: In vitro technology is used to grow meat in the shape of a flower.
The Meat Flower is illustrative for the diminishing of borders between ‘meat’ and ‘vegetarian’ due to emerging technology: although the cultured meat is grown from animal cells, no animals are hurt and injured in the process.
Biosynthetic design is usually discussed at the scale of the individual product. But the city – itself a mixture of synthetic interventions within biological systems – can be considered a more complex piece of biosynthetic design. Conversations in urban planning have moved away from blunt engineering and the evisceration of species to serve human convenience, towards balanced management and co-existence. Joyce Hwang discusses the challenges for designers, and gains for citizens, of living in a truly biosynthetic city.
This essay originally appeared in Volume magazine #35. Get your copy here.