Speculative Design

The design that surrounds us in everyday life is partly limited by its practicality. His goal is, first of all, to solve current problems, or at least to make the world a little brighter. But in 2021, that’s not enough. In an era of rapid technological development, this approach is becoming a form of denial of all the difficulties and challenges that the future presents for us.

Speculative design is one of the most interesting areas. Its purpose is to simulate possible scenarios for the future. Speculative design tends to question the things we are used to and ask strange questions: what if we give up our inalienable rights and freedoms in favor of the state? What if gadgets control our behavior? What if, instead of a human child, a woman decides to give birth to a shark? Sounds intriguing, right?

What is speculative design?

Speculative design emerged in the early 90s as a result of the fusion of discursive and critical design approaches. A relatively new phenomenon, it has managed to become a major platform for discussion of ethical, cultural, social and political predictions and consequences in a short time.

In Speculative World, pioneers Anthony Dunn and Fiona Raby say that speculative design owes its success to imagination. Working on such projects, designers get complete creative freedom. They are constantly looking for new solutions, since the goal of speculative design is to create products and services for different scenarios in the “What if …?” Style.

Practice shows that creatives prefer to reflect on the most terrible situations in which society may find itself in the future. We hope their projects will help make this world a better place.

5 impressive speculative design projects


Facestate is a research project by the Amsterdam-based design studio Metahaven that criticizes contemporary liberalism.

On Facebook, we talk a lot about the importance of human rights and freedoms, we often share publications about the non-interference of the state in the economy, and we love posts about the free market. However, the most popular social network in the world is not going to follow these principles. Facebook is fighting for a monopoly and, having bought up WhatsApp, Instagram and a dozen other large companies, daringly changes the terms of user agreements in its favor.

The implications of Facebook’s influence on our lives in the Facestate project are described down to the smallest detail. What if this social network becomes an independent state that brings social contract theory to life? After blindly accepting any user agreement, we allow Facebook to control social processes.

To demonstrate what happens if people give up their rights in favor of a hypothetical state, the designers created the identity of the fictional state Facestate with a passport, a facial recognition device, a digital wallet and other attributes of the concept.

Metahaven’s Facestate / Walker

I Wanna Deliver a Shark

According to the non-profit organization Forum for the future, the world’s population will grow by another billion by 2025. This figure is staggering and alarming, but Japanese designer Ai Hasegawa did not lose her head and came up with a bold solution to the problem.

She suggested that in the future there will be alternative technologies that will allow women aged 30-40 years to carry and give birth to animals of endangered species. Thus, with the help of biomedicine, we can avoid overpopulation and use the reproductive capabilities of women for the benefit of humanity.

At first glance, the project seems like a fantasy of a mad scientist, but Ai Hasegawa’s theory is based on scientific evidence. The designer conducted research and developed a scheme by which this project can be put into practice.

In case, she have the project “I wanna deliver a dolphin” as well.

I Wanna Deliver a Shark / Ai Hasegawa

Natural history of Enigma

Eduardo Katz is a designer working on projects at the intersection of art and science. Its goal is to give biotechnology a poetic and philosophical meaning. For example, in the project “Natural History of Enigma” he traces the relationship and the possibility of combining different species of animals and plants.

It took the designer five years to create a new form of life – the genetically modified Edunia flower – a hybrid of petunia and the artist’s own DNA. The red veins on the flower are like veins, and the petals are colored in the color of human skin.

Although many questions arise regarding the realism of such a future, the project itself went far beyond the imagination and became a full-fledged scientific experiment, which scientist Neil Olszewski helped Eduardo to implement.

Nine points to IDEAL object

Neri Oxman, material ecology architect, has crystallised her practice’s naturecentric philosophy in a series of principles to which human clients will be asked to commit. The principles have undergone several revisions and are still in flux. The most recent version is “Nine Commandments for a Material Ecology”, that is correlated with design approach, centred not on human beings, but on nature as a part of system. Following those steps, maybe, we will be able to create better design objects, that I called “Ideal” in title, just for better perception. Because Ideal does not exist hehe.

So, the commandments in nevalogue are constructive, a declaration of intent for a new design practice. The early version were descriptive of Oxman’s intellectual process and juxtaposed old and new, considering design before and after digital computation and the advent of a so-called Century of Biology at the turn of the millennium.

Nature as Client

“The natural environment at large constitutes the client for every commissioned project, as well as its site and material sources.”

Okay, this one is hard to implement into product design. Buut, we can try our best to use ecological material and their microstructure, as well as macro. To build structures that respond to the environmental conditions and instead of being more fragile with the flow of time, started to be anti-fragile. What means better or not suffering, at least.

Growth over Assembly

“Nature grows things. We will be able to create objects that will respond to their users, adapt to their environment, and even grow over time after they have been printed”

Comment: this principle conceptually moves design and production into the new age of biology, from the assembly line to the wet lab.

Neri Oxman team already were doing similar project, as Silk Pavilion, where caterpillars weaved the dome under the influence of light. Or the green bridge in Stuttgart.

Integration over Segregation

“The typical facade of building is made up of discrete parts fulfilling distinct functions. Stiff material provide a protective shell, soft material provide comfort and insulation, and – in buildings – transparent materials provide connection to the environment. In contrast, human skin utilises more or less constant material constituents for both barrier functions(small pores, thick skin on our backs) and filtering functions(large pores, thin skin on our face). In an ideal object, barrier and filtering functions are integrated into a single material system that can at any point respond and adapt to its enironment.

Comment: Oxman often describes her work as noncompositional, a whole in which the same material articulates dynamically the required functions.

Non-Human-Centered Design

“The group considers all living creatures as equals.” What is quite common in modern world and modern design approach. People start to make non-human-centered design to save ability to adapt to environment, not destroy it and create the new one. “The group aims to shift human-centric design to a design culture focused on conserving, improving and augmenting the natural environment though novel technological developments.”

Comment: The past decade has seen an increasing preoccupation with interspecies design and questioning of anthropocentric values, and Oxmans new practice chooses this position as its baseline.

Difference over Repetition

“Industrial products generated out of machines consist of repeatable parts with identical properties. Comprehending difference enables us to design repetitive systems — like bone tissue — that can vary their properties according to environmental constraints. As a consequence of this new approach we will be able to design behaviour rather then form.”

Comments: the form-giving design of yesteryear yields to the new concept of formation, in which a system adapts and performs — behaves.

Decay or Disposal

“The Practice implements design workflows in which matters is synthesised systems, and consumed by the same ecosystem upon obsolescence. Designed decay is the process by which matter is programmed to rejoin an ecosystems resource cycle and fuel new growth”.

For example, forest eco-system is working in this way. When the old tree is dying, it gives live for couple of new ones, for some mushrooms and batteries around. And the cycle repeats.

Comments: An embrace of circularity, this principle affirms the role of the architect within the ecosystem.

Activist Design

“Any design commission becomes associated with a particular technology, invented or improved upon by the Lab, which embodies the value system associated with the group, and is directly linked to design and construction processes relevant to the commission.”

Comments: Several enterprises, nonprofit and for-profit, are currently trying to integrate ethics and social and environmental responsibility into their practices, and to pass there values on to their customers — a brand of activism from within the system. Oxman’s group will use technology as a vessel for change.

Some of the companies are adjust ethics to their policies, and not vice versa. The desire to cheat and deceive disappears, when we put our skin in the game(reference to the Inu Anum sîrum).

System Over Object

“The product – be it a product, a wearable device, or a building – is considered part of a system of interrelations between natural and designed environments including interactions between the entity and the human body as well as the entity and its environment.”

The world as the fascial human body, where all elements consist from similar material, but in different proportion it gives absolute different result.

Technology over Typology

“Moving from the taxonomic classification commonly found in buildings and urban places… topology – the way in which constituent parts are interrelated or arranged – is the driving force behind the design process, promoting condition-based programming as the approach for organising spaces and making places.”

Or to be fragile or anti-fragile?

Evaluation of Thesis “Material-based Design Computation” by Neri Oxman

Level of design

The doctor thesis has the layout of the philosophical work, academic framework and as an experimental practice. In the thesis author faces intellectual and technical challenges, as well as with theoretical framework. Design, in this case, is the combination of prosthetic device design and product design in general. Despite the fact that idea is crossing the borders of the design definition and incline more in technological aspects, it is still the art experiment. Maybe, even more it was before.

Degree of innovation

As I mentioned in previous paragraph, the borders of design erasing in this work. Author is experimenting with forms, techniques and ways to product. Everything is described in detailed and step-by-step way, plus comparing things between each other.


The work itself is the independent research, that is made on the base of other people work, opinion, educational level, comments and help. Author mentioned all the people and educational institutions, museums and groups, that inspired her during her life, work and this particular thesis. Since such work is quite extensive and necessarily requires help from the side.

Outline and structure

Structure is divided into nine main parts: pores of the synthesis of material form, where the material-based computation, form and structure are described; nature’s way from micro to macro organisms; the new materiality or the influence of form, how it changed and current problems; design computation; material-based design computation; natural artifice — natural design in new way with the reference to form again, but from the nature angle; natural fabrication; contributions.

All modules are supported with explanation, examples and authors own experiments.

Degree of communication

Communication is clear and easy structured. Modules are presented as modules with sub-modules, what makes orientation fast and whole topic understandable. Experimental designs employing suggested theoretical and technical frameworks, methods and techniques are presented, discussed and demonstrated.

Scope of the work

Huge. Research from different side, with all possible and impossible materials, graphs, digital models, that clearly demonstrates the work done. Design experiments shows the contribution and the potential future of a modern design structure and future research field.

Orthography and accuracy

I would say, that accuracy is on a high level. As I mentioned, the whole thesis is described in precise manner, so person, that is outside the topic, can understand.


Author is referring to 389 resources. Most of them are from the engineering, biology and architecture spheres. Neri is using the computation methods work, more philosophical works, as “Design and Elastic Mind” or “The Ideas of Biology”, surface structure and resources, combining both technology and biology.

Bacterial lamps by Jan Klingler

Swedish designer Jan Klingler has created unusual lamps: bacteria live in them, which color the light in different shades. For this project, the designer had to do a lot of research and gain relevant experience, but now he can control the growth of bacteria so as to “grow” the desired color or pattern in his lamp bulbs.

To create these lights, Klingler himself grows bacteria, fungi and yeast, allowing them to grow naturally on a resin disc for 24 to 48 hours. Its “home” bacteria feed on agar-agar, a gelatin obtained from seaweed. At the beginning of the process, the culture medium becomes liquid, but by the time Klingler adds bacteria to grow, it begins to solidify.

The colors are provided either by food or by the bacteria themselves, for example, the serratia bacterium (such as live in the human mouth) gives an orange-red color. When the desired effect is achieved, the biomaterial discs are sealed to deprive the cultures of oxygen and stop their growth. The resin plates are then connected to the LED disk or module. It turns out that light is poured through a translucent layer of bacteria.

Bacteria lamps are manufactured entirely in Sweden and come in four variations, reminiscent of laboratory equipment. One is inspired by a Petri dish, one is a Collet flask that looks like a flattened light bulb, and two are made in the shape of a Fernbach flask in two sizes.

According to Klingler, the project challenges the user to “see a new connection between the object he created and himself, creating a visible connection through bacteria, shedding light on what we think should remain hidden, and exposing it to the public.”

Klingler clarifies that every living creature and even its place of residence has its own unique microbiological imprint. Combining science, art and industrial design, his Bacteria lamp harnesses this tangible fact to present a unique piece to the world, provoking thought and discussion.

The goal of the designer is to offer in the future personalized lamps made to order from biological samples of a specific client who wants to perpetuate himself in this way and make a part of himself a piece of contemporary decorative art.

Krebs Cycle as Design Thinking Approach

According to Wikipedia, the reverse Krebs cycle (also known as the reverse tricarboxylic acid cycle) is a sequence of chemical reactions that are used by some bacteria to produce carbon compounds from carbon dioxide and water by the use of energy-rich reducing agents as electron donors.

Regardless of how you choose to call this cycle, it is the main engine of cellular respiration.

The tricarboxylic acid cycle is the center, where almost all metabolic pathways converge. Thus, the Krebs cycle is a common final pathway for the oxidation of acetyl groups (in the form of acetyl-CoA), into which most of the organic molecules that play the role of “cellular fuel” are converted during catabolism: carbohydrates, fatty acids and amino acids.

The tricarboxylic acid cycle is a closed cycle. The last stage of which transforms the molecule used in the first stage, if we calculate the total energy effect of glycolytic degradation of glucose and the subsequent oxidation of the two formed pyruvate molecules to CO2 and H2O, then it will turn out to be much greater. As well as the Design cycle starts from the Ideation and, passing all stages, finished with Definition. The cycle is closed system, so it can go on indefinitely.

In Design Thinking Cycle — the solution of the problem is divided into couple of steps, that are following each other, transforming and decaying into small and simple elements.

Six steps of the cycle are Ideate, Prototype, Test, Implement, Empathise and Define.

  1. Emphathise

At the first stage of the cycle, acetyl-CoA combines with a 4-carbon acceptor molecule, oxaloacetate, to form a 6-carbon molecule, — citrate.

I would say (if no one throws stones in me), that designer is always an empath. He is looking for the most comfortable solution. It’s easy to do projects that you understand. If you are into rap, making a rapper landing page is easy. But if a customer trades on a financial exchange, he will have to delve into his business, understand the processes and understand how he feels when communicating with people. So, designer is forming with a client mind, to form an overall idea of a project.

2. Define

After small transformations, this 6-carbon molecule enters into two successive similar reactions, as a result of each of which one carbon atom is split off (it is released in the form of a carbon dioxide molecule), while producing one molecule each time.

Organize the information you get through empathy, analyze the observations, and highlight the user’s key problems. The purpose of focusing is to formulate a question to which you will produce an answer in the next step.

3. Ideate

Once you’ve identified the user’s problem, come up with and work out non-standard solutions. Give up the critical thinking we are all so used to. Criticism can ruin a good idea. Write down everything, even the most delusional thoughts. Once the creative is over, pick out viable ideas and move on to the next stage. Idea, in this case, — is the enzyme(isocitrate dehydrogenase) plays a very important role in regulating the rate of the tricarboxylic acid cycle.

4. Prototype

Here the task is to test the performance of ideas in practice. It is enough to make a budget version or low fidelity prototype of the product with functions that will help solve the indicated problem.

Prototype, as the enzyme, responsible for this stage is built into the inner membrane of the mitochondria, due to which it can transfer its electrons directly into the electron transport chain.

5. Test

Pretty understandable, right? Either it works, either not. And we adding, involving more people to it, as chemistry adds water to the fumarate molecule, resulting in another 4-carbon molecule – malate.

6. Implement

At the last stage of the tricarboxylic acid cycle, oxidation of malate again yields oxaloacetate — the original 4-carbon molecule that entered the tricarboxylic acid cycle, but with bigger amount of energy. Our small thought is still the same, but it is a big working project in reality now!

Modules for analog synthesizers using Aloe vera biomemristor

The study, made by Kiyu Nishida showing the usage of natural resources, such as slime mold and aloe vera leaves in modern music performances. In this particular research and experiment, the aim was to show the novel possibilities of sound based on unconventional technologies such as integrating biological forms and structures into traditional circuits — in our case, aloe vera. A biosignal has been used in experimental music as the material for composition. 

How does it work?

For controlling the sound with the help of electricity level, we need to use a resistor. Exist more complex resistor — memrisotor. The functions are all the same, but memristor can memorize information and use it for further notice. Fascinating, that there are couple of memristors in a nature, such as slime mold and aloe vera. They are the bio-memtistors. 

Nowadays, people are trying more and more to connect technologies with nature. One by one. Result is not always successful, but always worth it. The aloe vera sound creates new possibilities for performance, music experimenters in a new unique way. 

The sound of the outcome you can listen below.



House with germs and bulletproof skin. BioDesign.

Society is increasingly trying not to subjugate nature, but, on the contrary, to learn from it. With knowledge of the properties of certain organisms, we can revolutionize design. For example, grow bulletproof leather and create lamps with an alternative way of getting light.


Biodesign is associated with the design of hybrid forms of living organisms and modern technologies in order to enhance certain properties of organisms and increase their chances of survival.

In many ways, the task of a biodesigner is to address the challenges posed by the impending climate crisis. The field of biodesign cannot be imagined without the interaction between designers and scientists who know how the body works at the molecular level.

On the one hand, the question arises whether we have the right to interfere with the life of other living beings and transform it; on the other hand, biodesign, in theory, is guided by noble ideas and is looking for ways to make life easier (not only for people, but also for other living organisms) in extreme conditions.

Researchers and designers are studying the properties of various microorganisms, which are the first to develop cunning mechanisms for adapting to new conditions. For example, inside nuclear reactors, scientists found microbes that were able to protect and restore their DNA, despite the huge doses of radiation. Studying and using such a defense mechanism could help scientists looking for a cure for cancer. Another representative of superhero microorganisms managed to survive, being on the ISS hull for 553 days and overcoming the space cold. For biodesigners, such discoveries are a real find, given that the human genome is 90% composed of cells of symbiotic microbes. That is, theoretically, we can “add” tiny neighbors to ourselves and get some of their super-abilities.

Biodesign is not equal to biomimicry.

The term “biomimicry” denotes an approach when the design borrows or copies the principles observed in nature. Biologist Janine Benjus detailed the main ideas of this approach in her 1997 book. One problem with the term biomimicry is that it is used too widely. Often, in such a design, the connection with nature is limited only to the imitation of form or material for a symbolic, decorative effect. That is, the form turns out to be divorced from the idea of ​​biodesign — to live in harmony with existing ecosystems.



This experimental technology was invented by Henk Jonkers. Bioconcrete contains bacteria of the Sporosarcina pasteurii species, which naturally produce limestone under suitable conditions. Before the bio-concrete hardens, bacteria are mixed with nutrients. Over time, as the concrete structure begins to crack, bacteria will help fill them, producing limestone. This hybrid material extends the life of the man-made technology, reduces maintenance costs and minimizes the carbon footprint. Since concrete is one of the most common building materials, the use of technology improved in this way will help to significantly reduce the harmful human impact on the environment.

Botany as architecture

The architecture technique, invented by Ferdinand Ludwig, Cornelius Hackenbracht and Oliver Storz of the University of Stuttgart, involves the use of trees as a supporting structure. For this purpose, species with strong trunks and a root system, such as willow, are suitable. Moreover, the branches and trunks in such a structure will only become stronger over time. It is important for the authors of the idea to emphasize that architecture is not static, it is also subject to change and transformation, like all elements of nature around.


This packaging material was developed by the American company Ecovative Design as an alternative to containers made from petroleum products and polluting the environment. The basis of EcoCradle (from the English cradle – tray, stand, frame) is mycelium (or mycelium), which is characterized by a rather dense structure. To create such eco-containers, you can use waste from the local agro-industry.

A microbial home

The concept of a microbial home was invented by the Dutch subsidiary of Philips. We can say this is a version of a smart home in which all the work is done and coordinated by microbes, bacteria and fungi. Thanks to them, devices for heating, cooling and growing food, as well as processing food waste, function. They all make up a closed ecosystem. For example, an apparatus for bio-processing of methane helps to solve the problem of recycling food waste and at the same time produces gas, due to which the stove operates.


An experimental lamp design by Mike Thompson illustrates an alternative way of producing light. In this case, it is generated using gold nanoelectrodes, into which algae cells have been implanted. So, thanks to photosynthesis, we get current.

In addition, Yalila Essaidi is an artist, designer and researcher who invented and created bulletproof leather. It is a hybrid of human skin and spider filament:

The eye on the belly of a tadpole

The manipulation of the electrical status of cells allowed scientists at Tufts University, Massachusetts to grow fully formed eyes in the intestines and on the tail of tadpoles. As strange as it sounds, the demonstrated result is an important step towards the regeneration of complex organs and the evolution of design.

In earlier work, the researchers managed to grow a new tail for the tadpole to replace the lost one. To do this, they changed the electrical properties of cells by stimulating their absorption of salt. These and later results indicate that not only chemical, but also physical factors play an important role in the development of the animal organism in the direction of cell differentiation.

The membranes of all cells have a certain electrical potential, which is formed due to the difference in the concentrations of charged ions of sodium, potassium and calcium in the intra- and extracellular space. The movement of ions across the membrane is regulated by so-called ion channels. For most cells, in addition to nerve and muscle, the charges created by these currents are very small and are expressed in millivolts. However, it turned out that the difference in potentials of different cells plays an important role in the migration and development of cells.

The researchers found that about 19 hours after fertilization of the Xenopus laevis Xenopus laevis egg, the membrane potential of some cells in the embryo was reduced by about 20 millivolts. At the site of localization of these cells, the eyes of the animal are subsequently formed. At the same time, the introduction of compounds that block the change in potential prevents the formation of eyes.

To test the hypothesis that the electrical properties of the cell play an important role in the formation of the eye, the scientists have embedded ion channels, allowing to create a characteristic decrease in membrane potential, into the cells of the intestine and tail of tadpoles. As a result, each stimulation of these channels led to the formation of an additional eye in the selected localization.

Previously, experts believed that eyes can only form from head cells that express certain regulatory proteins. However, it turned out that the primary signal in this case is a change in potential, which somehow triggers the production of the necessary proteins.

The researchers believe that in the future, similar approaches could be used to stimulate the formation of organs from stem cells in the laboratory. However, some experts doubt the success of such experiments, since the course of the process of organ formation is most likely determined by a change in the electrical status of the cell relative to the surrounding cells, and not simply by reaching a certain level of membrane potential.

An eye formed in the intestine of a tadpole is circled in red.

Synthetic Biology: The Designers Making Life

Indicator bacteria that change color in the presence of certain substances appeared in 2010. Initially, “living sensors” were used to detect mercury contamination in water, but soon became widespread. Since 2015, the profession of a pigment hunter has become in demand, finding rare colors and their genes in exotic plants and animals. Around 2040, yoghurts with lactic acid GM bacteria E. chromi will come into vogue, which will help diagnose bowel diseases by the shade of secretions. Ten years later, the Orange Liberation Front (OLF), a terrorist organization advocating for the preservation of the fruit’s natural orange color, will enter the political scene. By the turn of the 2070s, Google’s climate division will fill the atmosphere with microbes that color the air when carbon dioxide levels reach dangerous levels.

Although, Daisy Ginsberg’s early predictions did not come true, this is the future that synthetic biology and the ability to create new life forms are preparing for us.

Modern biology, especially such a complex field as synthetic biology, does not seem to be a suitable hobby for a designer and an architect. But behind this is a clear concept: according to Daisy Ginsberg, the very basic principle of design is to change natural nature for and for man. Therefore, at least since the industrial revolution of the 18th century, design has been translating from the language of new technological solutions and scientific concepts into the language of things, mass-produced products that surround us everywhere. An internal combustion engine is engineering, a car is design; piezoelectric element — physics, lighter — design.

For Ginsberg, design is what distinguishes natural from cultural, natural objects from man-made, what we control from uncontrolled. In this sense, the GM-mosquitoes developed by the British company Oxitec are also a design product. Not giving viable offspring, in nature they successfully compete for mating with their wild counterparts and reduce the number of carriers of malaria and other dangerous infections. Golden rice could also be called a designer product, which contains a significant amount of beta-carotene and can solve the problem of vitamin A deficiency in some third world countries. And certainly the result of the design — is a synthetic strain of Mycoplasma laboratorium with an artificially obtained genome. New organisms with new functions are the result of the application of design thinking, only in the field of synthetic biology.

If design is a boundary that separates natural and cultural, then you should not assume that the areas on both sides of it are in conflict. The cultural grows out of the natural and improves it, at least from a human point of view. The natural is a product of evolution, which always responds to the challenges of the moment and is incapable of intelligent planning or design. Evolution is unfamiliar with the concept of “better”, modern bears are no better than dinosaurs, just better adapted to today’s conditions. The cultural world is developing, obeying the laws of human progress: an incandescent lamp is better than candles and torches, an LED is better than a tungsten filament.

However, in the field of the design of living things, until recently, man could only participate in evolution, directing the action of artificial selection — until we had in our hands the means of manipulating the genome, powerful tools of progress, which can be compared with the emergence of precise machine production. Today, these technologies are ready to change the “nature of nature”, once again transform the world. In the meantime, Daisy Ginsberg is trying to figure out how it will look like.

Like many biologists, the artist considers what is happening in this area — is a new revolution: “The cost of sequencing and DNA synthesis is falling rapidly. CRISPR genetic modification technologies have increased the range of available options. Something changes every year, ” Daisy said in a lecture at the PopTech forum. – GM microbes will most likely appear to clean up oil pollution or to normalize the acidity of the soil. The use of modified mosquitoes is already a reality. “

Fully synthetic organisms are products of technological progress, not biological evolution, and are not at all obliged to imitate natural beings. Having only a common biochemical basis with them, they are soon ready to stand out into their own branch on the tree of life. The super-kingdom is on a par with bacteria, archaea and eukaryotes, developing according to its own laws, which are set by both nature and people. The operation of these laws is the subject of main interest for Daisy Ginsberg. What would a plant look like when turned into a living factory? Design will answer this: like a specialized workshop producing a biopolymer part. When ripe, it drops out of the opened fruit and is ready to be assembled with other fruits of synthetic plants to give a whole useful device.

Significantly, in the 2009 Growth Assembly series of sketches, such a device turns out to be a herbicide sprayer — a vital tool for a person living in a world of complete freedom of biotechnology. The artist does not at all turn a blind eye to the potential dangers of such a future, and in the Synthetic Kingdom project she presented a number of rather frightening consequences, the prevention of which should be taken care of in advance. In Ginsberg’s view, the horizontal transfer of genes between synthetic and natural organisms can lead to the fact that microbes on the teeth will produce, for example, pigments, coloring them in bright colors, and the “genetic leak” from the bioelectronics factory to an epidemic of phosphorescent kidney stones.

However, this biotechnology does not stand out too much among human achievements: none of the former or existing technologies is devoid of negative side effects. The growth of modern civilization has already led to such a rapid decline in biodiversity, which scientists confidently call the Sixth Global Extinction in the history of life on Earth. But just as the previous steps in development made it possible to solve many problems caused by previous technologies, and synthetic biology is ready to “cure” the biosphere of the planet. Artificial slugs to restore the acid-base balance of the soil, artificial hedgehogs to spread seeds and even strange translucent organisms that infect plants and filter their juices to remove pathogens are another Daisy Ginsberg project and another touch of the biotech future. If you believe that progress really leads from good to better, then is is possible to agree that this is exactly what it will be.

Is This the Future of Face Masks?

The story begins with Marc Benioff, the chief executive of the cloud computing company Salesforce, watching the MTV Video Music Awards last summer.

To be specific, he was watching Will.i.am, the rapper, entrepreneur and founding member of the Black Eyed Peas, cavorting around wearing what appeared to be a cross between a gas mask and an alien space helmet. So he called Will.i.am, whose full name is William Adams and who has been a regular at Salesforce’s Dreamforce tech conference since 2010, and asked what in the world he had on his face.

Will.i.am said it was an idea he had been noodling. So Mr. Benioff told Will.i.am that he really ought to talk to Darius Adamczyk, the chief executive of Honeywell, the multinational conglomerate that happened to be responsible for making millions of N95 face masks over the last year. Mr. Benioff made the introduction, and on April 8 the results of that conversation are coming to market.

After the surgical mask and the do-it-yourself mask and the fashion mask: the smart mask.

This ergonomic mask has a silicone face seal and an adjustable elastic strap, allowing it to adapt to different face shapes while being highly durable, which in turn allows year-round use of the mask in all climates.

XUPERMASK is equipped with two 3-speed fans and HEPA filters, as well as built-in wireless (Bluetooth 5.0) active noise canceling headphones with microphone, LED lighting, magnetic headphone dock, etc.

The declared operating time of the XUPERMASK mask is 7 hours. It will go on sale in two sizes and in two colors – black and white. All options will be priced at $ 299.

For the above price, in addition to the mask itself, buyers will also receive a special carrying case, a three-month supply of HEPA filters, earplugs for headphones of various sizes, a USB Type-C charging cable and a regular sheet mask.