Tag: Guided Growth

Blood Bricks
Dynamic-architecture

House of Cow Blood

Using animal blood for building your own house sounds like something from a horror film, but architect Jack Monro has created a set of experimental bricks that take bovine blood as their…

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Economology

Dan Barber on the Ultimate Fish Farm

Chef Dan Barber discusses a dilemma facing many chefs today: how to keep fish on the menu? With impeccable research and deadpan humor, he chronicles the discovery of a unique open-ended and…

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PigsBladder
Guided Growth

Bio-engineered Football

With the knowledge that footballs were once made of pig’s bladder and that in 2006 the first artificial bladder was transplanted into a patient, artist John O’Shea designed the first bio-engineered football…

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elephantiiasis_530_
Designed-by-Evolution

IKEA Lamp Catches Elephantiasis Virus

Have you heard of Elephantiasis? It is a disease caused by microscopic parasitic worms that cause a thickening of the skin and underlying tissues. The disease typically occurs in tropical regions, however, as it seems it recently transferred to consumer products.

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hylozoic ground
Guided Growth

Complexity and Evolving Synthetic Soil

Twenty-first century society draws from a world that is less determined by objects and increasingly shaped by connectivity. The clear either/or distinctions that formerly informed experience are being replaced by a much more fluid understanding of the world. Identity is not fixed, but shaped by networks where people and ‘things’ can coherently exist in many states. This ‘complex systems’* view extends to the characterization of nature, which is made up of many interacting bodies. Some of these are human, others living and many other participating agencies that are dynamic, yet are not thought of as being alive. Yet the animal, plant and mineral kingdoms represent different kinds of organizing networks that are entwined and constitute our living world.

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glowing canals in Amsterdam
Guided Growth

Amsterdam’s Canals by Bacterial Light

Italian architect Carlo Morsiani would like to take Amsterdam’s canals from dark, dank and filled with old bikes, to brilliant, blue, and presumably still filled with old bikes. Morsiani recently proposed adding…

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silkworm cocoons
Augmented-Bodies

Regrowing Bones with Silk

Time to add another superpower to insect silk, which already includes bulletproof skin and implantable microelectronics. Recent research indicates that silk may be an ideal candidate for creating strong, flexible scaffolding for…

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carrots
Food Technology

First “Farm”aceuticals Grown in Carrots

The United States Food and Drug Administration recently approved Elelyso, the first drug to be grown in genetically modified plant cells. Produced in carrot cells, this drug helps to treat the symptoms…

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jae rim
Bionics

The Ecological Human

The nature of humanity in the twenty-first century is, according to sociologist Steve Fuller, a ‘bipolar disorder’ beset with dualisms of identification such as divine/animal, mind/body, nature/artifice and individual/social. He notes that they have challenged our collective sense of identity as ‘human’, particularly though the operationalization of the mind/body question in new material configurations of metallic or silicon bodies [1].

In short, we are ‘becoming’ machines. Inventor Ray Kurtzweil and performance artist Marcel Li Antunez Roca both explore this notion in their projections about the future of the human body. Yet ‘emergentist’ philosophers and scientists have challenged the mechanistic model of matter since the late 18th and early 19th century. They propose another way of understanding the organization of matter [2], without resorting to the customary mechanist  [3] – vitalist [4] dichotomy [5]. Observations from the biological and chemical sciences demonstrate that substances frequently do not behave in a manner that can be explained as the simply ‘sum’ of their components. For example, the addition of an acid and an alkali creates salt and water, while the fusion of an ovum and spermatozoon produces a conceptus. These are transformational rather than additional processes, which resist simple, mechanical interpretations.

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quadrotors
Calm-technology

Can Life Be a Technology?

In 2009 the Initiative for Science, Society and Policy coined the phrase ‘living technology’ [1] to draw attention to a group of emerging technologies that are useful because they share some of the fundamental properties of living systems. The technologies fell short of being fully ‘alive’ yet they possessed at least some unique characteristics that are usually associated with ‘life’: Self-assembly, self-organization, metabolism, growth and division, purposeful action, adaptive complexity, evolution, and intelligence. Examples of this new field of technology include synthetic biology, attempts to make living systems from scratch in the laboratory [2], ICT systems exhibiting collective and swarm intelligence and robot companions.

‘Living technology’ may be an oxymoron, yet despite its innate contradictions, it does not propose an empirical measurement of the ‘aliveness’ or ‘usefulness’ of the systems it represents. Rather the term implies a fundamental change in the way we engage with our world. Indeed, the idea of living technology embodies a complex, non-mechanical approach to the process of problem-solving, which frames the expectations of its performance.

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