Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Theme: Medicine

The future of medicine will look very different from today thanks to our newfound ability to understand and manipulate living systems in and around our bodies. New targeted therapies, techniques, regenerative medicine, and modes of manipulating the microbial communities in our bodies have the potential to change our definitions of health. This fall, student design teams at RPI will reimagine the future of health.


Amanda Harrold, Kathleen McDermott, Jacob Steiner and Perrine Papillaud

A living membrane on the surface of toilet bowls, Live(r) Clear traps estrogen and other pharmaceuticals excreted in urine. Today’s sewage systems do not filter these compounds, which end up damaging the aquatic ecosystem in waterways. Live(r) Clear addresses this problem before it enters the municipal pipes. 


Diana Alvarez, Andrew Dines, Janice Ho, and Sarah Notis

Not just a toothbrush but a healthcare device, Bio Brush’s sensors collect health data while users brush their teeth. Such readings include nutrition, inflammation, and imbalances in the oral microbiome. The devices comes paired with a bioreactor in its base that can produce nutrients and restore a healthy microbiome. Finally, Bio Brushes network their data, providing doctors with real-time epidemiological information. 


Gary Shea, Natalie Cestero, Yvonne Marcoux

Envisioned as an alternative to pills or transdermal patches, the temporary tattoo both diagnoses vitamin deficiencies and delivers cocktails of nutrients and pharmaceuticals through the skin. LifeInk is a living tattoo made with bioengineered algae that acts as a biosensor, drug producer, and delivery system to the wearer. Designed to last as long as the course of treatment, the algae change color when no longer active.


Clare Severance, Maria Michails, Sean Concannon and Dan Seel

Designed for people living in cities with high air pollution, P.O.D. is closed-loop air filtration mask that uses genetically engineered plants and an aeroponic growing system to deliver fresher air to the wearer. The system doubles as a fashion-forward accessory containing edible microgreens for snacks on the go.

Design Professor

Kathy High is an interdisciplinary artist working in the area of technology, science and art. She produces videos, photographs, writings, performances and installations about gender and technology, empathy, and animal sentience.

Her most recent art works include a video documentary about green or natural burials, entitled Death Down Under; and a performance/visual arts project called Blood Wars that uses white blood cells to test an individual’s strengths. These projects have allowed High to investigate areas such as decomposition and the immune system.

She has received numerous awards for her video works including grants from The Rockefeller Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She has been an independent curator for a number of years, having started the video exhibition program at Hallwalls Gallery in Buffalo, NY, and curated the Microwave Festival in Hong Kong, as well as television series (REEL NEW YORK on WNET) and video exhibitions internationally. Her work, “Embracing Animal”, was exhibited in “Becoming Animal” at MASS MoCA, North Adams. Her work can be found at


Banner image: Michael D. Beckwith, The Leeds Library.