Design Research / Concept

Design Research / Concept

Design Research / Concept

Design Research / Concept

Seeks to inspire and equip
designers, makers, and fabricators
with the novel tools.

Seeks to inspire and equip
designers, makers, and fabricators
with the novel tools.

Seeks to inspire and equip
designers, makers, and fabricators
with the novel tools.

Project

Carbonarium

Year

2022-2023

Service

Multidisciplinary Research & Design

Brief

Carbonarium is a design research initiative aimed at uncovering sustainable material innovations with the potential to redefine traditional construction and manufacturing processes.

It seeks to inspire and equip designers, makers, and fabricators with the novel tools to create sustainable material innovations in collaboration with bacteria.

It also serves as a platform for thought, encouraging professionals in the field to think differently about how we design, create, and consume in a world increasingly mindful of its environmental impact.

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Project

Carbonarium

Year

2022-2023

Service

Multidisciplinary Research & Design

Role

Substance Analysis, 3D Visualization, User Interface Crafting

Collaboration

Genspace

Brief

Carbonarium is a design research initiative aimed at uncovering sustainable material innovations with the potential to redefine traditional construction and manufacturing processes.

It seeks to inspire and equip designers, makers, and fabricators with the novel tools to create sustainable material innovations in collaboration with bacteria.

It also serves as a platform for thought, encouraging professionals in the field to think differently about how we design, create, and consume in a world increasingly mindful of its environmental impact.

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At the core of this project is the exploration of a unique material creation process involving sporosarcina pasteurii bacterium. This process binds substrate particles together to create a binded material.
At the core of this project is the exploration of a unique material creation process involving sporosarcina pasteurii bacterium. This process binds substrate particles together to create a binded material.
At the core of this project is the exploration of a unique material creation process involving sporosarcina pasteurii bacterium. This process binds substrate particles together to create a binded material.

Biological Process

Through biomineralization, these microorganisms utilize potential kitchen waste, such as eggshells, and natural materials like sand, to precipitate calcium carbonate. 


Progress

As a designer and researcher, I've collaborated with fellow scientists at Genspace to conduct experiments and develop this material. Our approach involves supplying the bacteria with nutrients and potential waste materials, while carefully maintaining the incubation system to facilitate the cultivation of this unique material.

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Can we harness this partnership to construct something meaningful? Can we provide enough resource for the bacteria to bind up materials that are being wasted in our life?

Intended System Design

I then envisioned a system that encourages collaboration between us and the bacteria. Can we harness this partnership to construct something meaningful? By supplying bacteria with potential waste materials and nutrients within a carefully maintained incubation system, might we cultivate a unique structure together created by humans and bacteria?

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The design of our the incubation device supports reusability and minimal waste. After sterilization, the device can be reused, optimizing biomineralization results.
The design of our the incubation device supports reusability and minimal waste. After sterilization, the device can be reused, optimizing biomineralization results.
The design of our the incubation device supports reusability and minimal waste. After sterilization, the device can be reused, optimizing biomineralization results.

Device Design

The primary inputs for this device are material substrates, bacterial colonies, and nutrients - all of which can potentially be derived from common kitchen waste or food-grade sources. This includes eggshells or other shell-based waste like seafood shells that serve as substrates, and nutrients from food-grade yeast extract medium, tryptic soy broth, or marine broth. Not only does this approach reduce waste, but it also dramatically decreases bacterial cultivation costs by up to 99.80%, compared to conventional growth media. Thus, the manufacturing process minimizes waste, reduces energy usage, and ensures environmental sustainability.  

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The design of our the incubation device supports reusability and minimal waste. After sterilization, the device can be reused, optimizing biomineralization results.
The design of our the incubation device supports reusability and minimal waste. After sterilization, the device can be reused, optimizing biomineralization results.
The design of our the incubation device supports reusability and minimal waste. After sterilization, the device can be reused, optimizing biomineralization results.

Device Design

The primary inputs for this device are material substrates, bacterial colonies, and nutrients - all of which can potentially be derived from common kitchen waste or food-grade sources. This includes eggshells or other shell-based waste like seafood shells that serve as substrates, and nutrients from food-grade yeast extract medium, tryptic soy broth, or marine broth. Not only does this approach reduce waste, but it also dramatically decreases bacterial cultivation costs by up to 99.80%, compared to conventional growth media. Thus, the manufacturing process minimizes waste, reduces energy usage, and ensures environmental sustainability.  

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The design of our the incubation device supports reusability and minimal waste. After sterilization, the device can be reused, optimizing biomineralization results.
The design of our the incubation device supports reusability and minimal waste. After sterilization, the device can be reused, optimizing biomineralization results.
The design of our the incubation device supports reusability and minimal waste. After sterilization, the device can be reused, optimizing biomineralization results.

Device Design

The primary inputs for this device are material substrates, bacterial colonies, and nutrients - all of which can potentially be derived from common kitchen waste or food-grade sources. This includes eggshells or other shell-based waste like seafood shells that serve as substrates, and nutrients from food-grade yeast extract medium, tryptic soy broth, or marine broth. Not only does this approach reduce waste, but it also dramatically decreases bacterial cultivation costs by up to 99.80%, compared to conventional growth media. Thus, the manufacturing process minimizes waste, reduces energy usage, and ensures environmental sustainability.  

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My research is centered around the convergence of materials, biology, and human behaviors, specifically exploring the potential of bacterial growth for mutual benefits across different species.

Future Improvements

The main challenges in this project lies in creating a conducive environment for experimentation and enhancing the accessibility of the incubation device. A typical environment might not effectively isolate the bacterium from other organisms.


Furthermore, the nutrient requirements for this collaboration are mostly lab-grade and therefore can not be easily accessible to creative individuals. Also, there are uncertainties tied to the outcomes of the biomineralization process. To address these issues, I've engaged in extensive exploration of more accessible materials and nutrients. Experiments have included the use of common household waste, such as crushed eggshells, as a platform for bacterial colony formation. I've also been investigating potential nutrient alternatives like agar, glucose, mineral salts, and other compositions, aiming to create an accessible nutrient mix that can stimulate bacterial growth.

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Future infrastructures?
Future infrastructures?
Future infrastructures?

Future Envision

Lastly, drawing inspiration from complex coral ecosystems, I envision a future where this structure in larger scale, and it is built and maintained by bacteria and human, and this structure are also supported by human-provided materials. This harmonious environment intertwines human behaviors, bacterial growth, and interspecies interaction in a dynamic cycle. 


Humans contribute to the biocementation process, nurture the bacteria, and maintain the infrastructure, fostering a sustainable future built on symbiosis.