Design as Restriction / Restriction as Design
We humans have a strange relationship to disgust when it comes to everyday products: We feel uncomfortable by touching mold, but have (mostly) no problems with eating gorgonzola cheese. We feel sick by seeing bloody guts from animals, but eating sausage and meat without lots of contemplation.
However, new advantages in Synthetic Biology and Tissue Engineering could lead to a new relation between human, grown objects and our cultural restrictions. To investigate this strange discrepancy I created three prototypes dealing with possible applications for synthetic skin. All of them could enhance our life and at the same time, provoke strong disgust:
Age Indicating packageThis package is made of synthetic cultivated human skin cells, which are living in coexistence with its inners, the milk. When the content decays - the cells show natural signs of age. A dying package therefore indicates bad food in an intuitive manner.
Antigen Hypersensitive SkinPeople allergic to certain kinds of food experience huge problems eating with risking their health and life. A cultivated surface which grows from endogenous skin cells can show natural signs of the allergic reactions. The allergic person therefore, could be warned before eating possible dangerous foods.
Ultra-Infection Sensitive SkinDangerous, antibiotic resistent bacterias like MRSA, are a huge issue for modern medicine. A possible solution could be a synthetic skin which grows in a bioreactor for human tissues. The cultured product is ultra-infection sensitive: Whenever hazardous germs get in contact with it, it will show extreme signs of infection and therefore warn the patient and doctor.