Headphones Grown with Microorganisms

Image by Finnish Design Agency Avian Studios

Avian Studios partnered with scientists from the VTT technical research center of Finland and Aalto University to design a pair of of headphones that are completely constructed from grown materials. While there have been numerous bio-material experiments popping up in different parts of the world, this specific project seems like a huge step for the industry for two main reasons: firstly, the industry-level collaboration between designers and scientist and secondly, the combination of different types of grown materials to create one holistic project story.

Synbio by Avian Studios

A variety of microbe-produced materials were chosen based on their unique properties; including a foam produced by fungal proteins, a leather made from the mycelium (root system) of a mushroom, a mesh made from biosynthetic silk and a plastic frame made from the lactic acid in baker’s yeast.

Construction by Avian Studios
Headphones by Avian Studios

Scientists and Designers came together to apply synthetic biology in order to disrupt our fossil-fuel based economy. Using renewable resources, waste products and CO2 to grow microbes that produce useful chemicals and materials allowed this team to create a product that instead supports a sustainable, circular economy.

The possibilities and impact of biodesign are potentially huge, however the struggle to apply and scale into existing industries like fashion, architecture and automotive has been an ongoing struggle for this small, but growing, industry. Holistic projects like these headphones reignite the hope that grown materials could eventually replace and change existing materials and processes that continue to pollute our planet.

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