DESIGNED BY NATURE

Inspired by the design, structure and function of biological systems, DESIGNED BY NATURE includes reverse-engineered spider silk, a synthesised substrate for bone cell growth and alternative materials that mimic photosynthesis.

Exhibits

Silly Putty and the Index of Curiosity [2012]

Zoe Laughlin
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Blue Morph [2007 — Present]

Victoria Vesna in collaboration with nanoscience pioneer James Gimzewski.
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Biophilia - Organ Crafting [2011]

Veronica Ranner, Germany. [www.vroniranner.bplaced.net]
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Materials

BIOGLASS SCAFFOLD

A tissue-engineered matrix with mechanical properties of high specific stiffness and strength. The glass scaffold is porous with a compressive strength comparable to that of cortical bone and important for a broad range of emerging applications, including filters, catalyst support, and tissue engineering scaffolds.

ARTIFICIAL PHOTOSYNTHESIS

A biomimetic process that replicates capturing and converting sunlight energy, water, and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates and oxygen. Using CNT-embedded polymers or nickelmolybdenum- zinc films, this process replaces nature’s use of pigments such as chlorophyll.

SILK

Silk is edible, biodegradable and implantable with strength, durability and a strong capacity to be conductive, fluorescent and drug-eluting. Potential applications include programmable biodegradable orthopaedic hardware, vein and artery replacement, drug storage and delivery systems, smart sensors [such as food ripening detection] and optical 3D display systems.

SCAFFOLD FOR CARTILAGE GROWTH

A matrix developed through tissue engineering that can regenerate damaged tissues by combining cells from the body with highly porous scaffold biomaterials, which act as templates to guide the growth of new tissue.

BIODEGRADEABLE PLASTICS

Plastics made from bacteria [PHB] and cornstarch [PLA] that degrade in soil with no adverse effects and that can dissolve in water [PVA]. All biodegradable with real commercial applications in the packaging industry—and potential to reduce our toxic landfill sites.

Experiments

Nitinol [NiTi] Heart Valve

Bruce Murphy, Biomechanical Engineering, TCD, Ireland.

Silk Bones, Food Sensors and Vein Replacements

Fiorenzo Omenetto, TUFTS University Boston, US.

Biodegradable Plastics

Trevor Woods [School of Physics, TCD], Maciej Guzik & Kevin O’Connor [School of Biomolecular & Biomedical Science UCD and the Environmental Protection Agency, Ireland].

Artificial Photosynthesis and CNT Embedded Polymer Film

David Coker & Laura Herz, University College Dublin [UCD], Ireland and Oxford University, UK.

Collagen Scaffold and Cell Culture

Fergal O’Brien & Tanya Levingstone, The Bone and Tissue Engineering Research Group of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland [RSCI].

Stereo Microscope, Light Microscope and Inverted Microscope

Colin Darby, Micron Optical & Zeiss, Ireland.

“Florogirl is an investigative reporter who was accidentally exposed to the properties of Nickel Molybdenum Zinc, and found herself able to imitate the process of photosynthesis by converting light from the sun and moisture in the air into energy. She uses her powers to create highly concentrated energy beams. I imagine that she can store up energy when fighting crime at night, but also runs the risk of running out of reserves.” Stephen Byrne