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probiotic capture tool

NATIVE COMMODITIES 2009 / Research at RCA Design Interactions

This project is a study into the tolerable limits of sharing, manufacturing and interacting with biological data from our bodies.

Today we can control our digital privacy and socially network our personalities via the internet. In the future this will extend to our biology, and the decisions facing us will concern how much of our biological data we want to share.

As genome technologies promote the open sourcing of the human body, could such data participation one day be extended into other forms of biological manufacture? Synthetic biology and nanotechnologies have made it possible to reprogramme cells, but would we be prepared to consider using our own bodies to do this?

sneeze capture spittoon

microbial analyser

probiotic capture tool

body channels

parasympathetic nervous system

In this scenario, I imagine the body's ability to process prebiotic substances. By understanding the quantities of fluid that can be produced by the parasympathetic nervous system, specific amounts of probiotic bacteria (those considered beneficial to the human body) can be harvested. The body would indicate its readiness to harvest by secreting coloured mucus or tears. A series of specialist tools could then be used to extract the desired substances from the body.

Three specialist tools have been prototyped to help understand what the experience of harvesting bodily secretions could be. The first two tools enable microbial cells to be inspected and harvested from the gut. The sneeze capture spittoon enables droplets from the nasal cavity and mouth to be networked and read by third parties. How might new digital communities that share biology data interact with one another? Would we want to keep such data private or would we be prepared to open source our bodies in a new data network? This projects forms the foundation of further research into how we might and network our bodies.