When you purchase a bit of furniture, you will be reasonably sure that it was designed and built by people. But one day, that would not be the case.
In fact, you are capable of purchase furniture and similar structures which are literally grown from bacteria. Yes, bacteria – the microorganisms which are present in most habitats in the course of the world. Brooklyn-based firm The Living is behind this potential way forward for bacteria-built structures.
Not only is that this a fascinating concept for a business. But when it succeeds, it will also provide a more sustainable method than traditional manufacturing. David Benjamin, founding father of The Living, refers back to the potential movement because the “glucose economy” so named because bacteria feeds on glucose.
In an interview with Entrepreneur, he explains :
“If living biological systems start making stuff, if bacteria start growing sheets or chairs, they wish as raw material sugar or glucose. And if we use those systems then we will replace the manner we normally do things with petroleum, plastics, non-renewable materials, and materials that usually have lots of carbon emissions.”
It sounds far-fetched and it’s not exactly possible just yet. But Benjamin believes it may work due to bacteria’s ability to create physical material and convey interesting patterns and shapes. So Benjamin’s company is banking at the concept that with some manipulation, an analogous process would be capable of be used to supply usable objects like chairs and other furniture.
While sitting in a chair created by bacteria won’t immediately seem appealing, there can be some definite benefits. Apart from the environmental aspect, using living organisms to create structures would also allow those structures to be dynamic, responsive and adaptive. So structures created with bacteria could actually be adapted for various uses in line with how the bacteria is manipulated.
While you can’t exit and purchase a bacteria-built chair just yet, it’s definitely an opportunity for the longer term. The concepts behind it may even cause a completely new variety of sustainable manufacturing.
Image: The Living