This course is a research-based design studio that introduces new materials, fabrication and prototyping techniques to develop new design proposals in response to the theme: Biological Design (Fall 2015).
The studio introduces life sciences and biotechnologies to designers, artists, and non-specialists to develop creative and critical propositions that address the social, cultural, and environmental needs of 21st century.
The course will be a pilot study of the first Bio Design Challenge. The final projects will be submitted to a competition and the winning entry will be featured at Biological Design Summit and Biofabricate in 2016.
The topics of the course is organized as follows:
1. What is Biological Design? (What is Biology today and why is it important to non-biologists?)
2. Life before Biology (Abiogenesis, Crystals, Primordial soups)
3. Making Life (Encapsulations, Droplets, Liposomes, Protocells)
4. Synthetic and Design-driven Biology (DNA Design and Assembly. Living Circuits)
5. Designing Life at Different Scales (Biosynthesis, Biofabrication and Bioremediation)
6. Designing Living Interactions (Microbial Ecologies, Mycelium tectonics, Bioflims, Quorum sensing)
7. The Culture of Nature (Why and how nature governs and gets governed, the before and after of the anthropocene)
8. Taking Living Matters into Own Hands (DIY Biology and Medicine).
Through lectures, hands-on workshops, and assignments, students will work on developing living artifacts that can their manifest ideas and learn how to situate their work in relation to the current discourse in contemporary art and design.
The course is co-taught with Dr. Karen Hogan from the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Biology.
The course assumes no background in Biology and will provide the necessary lab training to work in a Safety Level 2 Biology Lab at Penn.
For more information on the course see the website.
Image credits: Penn Biology Teaching Lab.
Student works: 1. Mycelium mesh - Mercan Tara, 2. Living blanket - Frances DiMare, 3. Spoiled meat sensor - Mauricio Novelo, 4. Fermentation boxes - Jacop Rivkin, 5. GFP figuration - Abigail Seligsohn and Frances DiMare, 6. Dog Viewer - Minmin Shi, 7. Microbial QR code - Michael L. Rivera, 8. Microbial terroir - Daniel Greenspan.
1. Designing and Evolving Edible Chemistries
We are researching the design of novel artifacts—concoctions, food ingredients, and flavors—using methods from molecular gastronomy, artificial life and synthetic biology research. The research is developed as part of a residency at the The Center for Fundamental Living Technology (FLinT) and is part of the Synergene project.
Research assistant: Carolina English
2. Mycelium Tectonics
We are researching design methodologies that are based on the growth process of Mycelium and its interaction with other microorganisms. We are interested in interfacing mycelium with a variety of bacteria to explore co-habitation conditions in which the interactions between species can yield micro and macro tectonic conditions. The current research focuses on exploring the design potential of path-finding materials and building living molds.
Research collaborator: Mercan Tara
3. Microbial Interaction & Design Kits
In collaboration with Penn's Department of Biology, we are exploring the design of microbial design kits that can be used to synthesize electricity and conduct novel antibiotics and environmental remediation research.
Research collaborator: Dr. Karen Hogan
We are interested in exploring the minimal conditions for building life-like artifacts—cellular constructs, protocells, liposomes, and artificial encapsulations—that can be utilized in different design contexts, such as cell-free protein synthesis and image-making.
We explore the use of nanoparticle-based inks, thin-film conductors, and inkjet liquid deposition technologies, to print light-emitting elements, batteries, circuits, and sensors directly onto paper to give it electrical and computational capabilities. We look at how augmented thin film products can harvest energy, display animated graphics, and combine sound play with interactivity.
This research area allows us to design paper interfaces, flexible displays, and smart packaging, which can update their contents with real-time information. Currently, we focus on two types of artifacts:
1. Low-cost printed interfaces and posters
Rock-Paper-Scissors is an interactive poster that mimics the traditional game of the same name: Users pick their desired shape and press on it to indicate their choice for the round. The poster then circulates between a rock, paper, and scissors and makes a random decision. At the end of the turn, a scoreboard lights up to indicate the winner. A truce triggers replay.The poster is a composite image made of light emitting elements, circuit traces, printed batteries, and sensors that combines visual information with electrically and computationally functional graphics.
A video documentation of some of the design experiments can be seen here.
The xLAB: Experience Design and Technology Lab is a newly founded research initiative at Penn that consists of faculty from Schools of Engineering and Design. The lab is developing new experiences in wellness, entertainment and education with new objects, surfaces, and interfaces that can deliver content to users with novel interaction paradigms. We focus on exploring the role of printed electronics and digital fabrication technologies to develop artifacts with content-coupled Internet of Things.
Associate Professor Rahul Mangharam, PhD – Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering
Asstistant Professor Orkan Telhan, PhD – Emerging Design Practices, Department of Fine Arts, School of Design
Sarah Rottenberg – Lecturer & Associate Director, Integrated Product Design Program, School of Design
Carla Diana – Lecturer, Integrated Product Design Program, School of Design