Exploring our living futures

Designing with biology is what we do when we shape living things for human purposes. Selective breeding of plants and animals, for instance, is one of civilization’s oldest practices. But the word “biodesign” evokes some of the newest design practices, made possible by technological advancements in the life sciences from bioengineering to sustainable architecture.

Students in the Biodesign Challenge are exploring how we might harness these advancements for ourselves and the environment, how these new applications might look and function, and how they might affect our lives and environment.


 
 

Biodesign themes

 

 
 

Architecture

Growing our building materials—perhaps even whole structures—is just one way biotechnology is changing architecture and urban design. 

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Energy

How can technologies such as biofuels and microbial fuel cells reshape our energy infrastructure? 

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Materials

From bioplastics and biodegradable concrete to spider-silk fabrics, biotechnologies are contributing to a potential renaissance in materials. 

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Transportation

What would the world be like if car, train, and plane designers took inspiration from living things?

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Manufacturing

Unlike other materials, living things replicate and self-assemble. These qualities may used to grow our products.

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Communications

How can using living communication technologies help us understand ourselves and change our definitions of community? 

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Food

New ways of growing foods offer opportunities to rethink what we consume every day. 

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Medicine

Growing medicines in engineered yeasts is only a first step. Learn about other ways advanced biotechnologies may make a difference in health.  

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Water

Biotechnologies present new means of conserving and remediating water. 


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