Category Archives: bio-technology

Recovering Berlin Competition is Launched

Nanotube-Producing Bacteria

Shewanella bacteria has been found to produce semiconducting nanotubes produced, which is a huge step in the way to nanoelectroc devices.  The process  they follow is biological rather than chemical, which indicates a more  environmentally friendly manufacturing process for electronic materials.



From Wikipedia:

Lithification is a process of porosity destruction through compaction and cementation. Lithification includes all the processes which convert unconsolidated sediments into sedimentary rocks. Petrification, though often used as a synonym, is more specifically used to describe the replacement of organic material by silica in the formation of fossils. In geology consolidation is a synonym for lithification.

A library of simple diagrams of geological processes.

The aesthetics of striation as a result of lithification.

The aesthetics of tafoni as a result of erosion.

Modelling of compaction (packing) (also, lithification) through computation.


Monsanto – GMs

“The Monsanto Company is a U.S.-based multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation. It is the world’s leading producer of the herbicide glyphosate, marketed as “Roundup”. Monsanto is also the leading producer of genetically engineered (GE) seed; it sells 90% of the world’s GE seeds.  Monsanto’s development and marketing of genetically engineered seed and bovine growth hormone, as well as its aggressive litigation and political lobbying practices, have made the company controversial around the world and a primary target of the alter-globalization movement and environmental activists.  Monsanto scientists became the first to genetically modify a plant cell in 1982. Five years later, Monsanto conducted the first field tests of genetically engineered crops.”

“Monsanto’s primary reason for enforcing its patents is to ensure a level playing field for the vast majority of honest farmers who abide by their agreements, and to discourage using technology illegally to gain an unfair advantage.” (Monsanto’s statement)  They limit the use of their seed to one year, and anyone who uses it for longer is sued. 

Monsanto could be the company that we project will develop our nanotechnology.  They will then patent it and have it live only one year for every new batch so that they can make people buy more, and if someone makes it go on, they will prosecute.  I think another functionality we could build into it is that if some other company develops their own technology, Monsanto’s would infect it and turn it into another one of theirs.

Bloom Box Energy


So here it is, the now-famous (that was fast) Bloom “Box” Energy Servers — all five of ’em — working their magic at eBay’s north campus. Not much to look at, but we’re happy to say it retains a low temperature — the only heat we really found was due to direct exposure to the light — and remains quiet while running. There are vents just underneath the sides where cool air was being pumped out. Of course, its raison d’etre is its ability to more efficiently deliver power, which is not something we can really test ourselves. Bloom Energy showcased a number of customers today — FedEx, Walmart, Staples, Google, Coca-Cola, Bank of America, Cox, and of course, eBay — and if the numbers meet their mark, you can color us mighty impressed. You know the drill: gallery below, quick video after the break!


Bacteria Aggregate and Tafoni Stone

Bacillus pasteurii is a “microorganism, readily available in marshes and wetlands, [that] solidifies loose sand into sandstone.”  Check out a BLDG BLOG post about a proposal for the Sahara desert here.

“The structure is made straight from the dunescape by flushing a particular bacteria through the loose sand… which causes a biological reaction whereby the sand turns into sandstone; the initial reactions are finished within 24 hours, though it would take about a week to saturate the sand enough to make the structure habitable.  The project – a kind of bio-architectural test-landscape – would thus go from a balloon-like pneumatic structure filled with bacillus pasteurii, which would then be released into the sand and allowed to solidify the same into a permacultural architecture.”

The final result can also be imagined by observing Tafoni stone formations, even though in this case it’s erosion rather than aggregation that’s taking place.  There’s some of this stone in Germany, actually.


swarm urbanism

Some inspiration from kokkugia

From the project Swarm Urbanism…

“Agency operates through two main processes within this proposal: firstly by using design agents to self-organise urban matter and secondly encoding intelligence into urban elements and topologies.”

“Agents within this system are not generic, instead there is an ecology of agent systems which interact, each set of agents programmed with their own desires and information.”

There are two key points here that they use to relate a swarm model to urban phenomena. First, the interaction between agents and their landscape. The agents have a series of behaviors, but they are also directly affected by information that is stored in the landscape, and the landscape itself is affected by the agents. This is the basic definition of an ecosystem.

Second, there is a hierarchy of agents, each performing their own task. In this model, there is a group of agents who aggregate matter, similar to the behavior of termites in building a colony. A second class of agents operates more like a slime mold, to build infrastructure by connecting certain locations in a minimal system.

I think both of these points are crucial when starting to think about how swarm models can be applied to think of the organization of a city.