Project Brief

Design a product that uses A.I. to fundamentally alter domestic living

Instructor

M. Casey Rehm

Collaborators

Caleb Fisher
Brendan Ho
Fangyuan Hu
Ryan M. Odom
Anthony Stoffella
Xiangtai Sun

Awards

Autodesk Prize for Best Visualization

Year

2016
SCI-Arc

17th century fortress of Palmyra

CONTEXT:
Microbes and Domestic Living

Microbes have historically had an antagonistic relationship with humans. Architectural systems were developed as static and discrete barriers between domestic life and the dangerous, uncontrollable qualities of nature. 

Today, architectural elements such as moisture barriers, HVAC systems, and specially treated materials are designed for the prevention of mold, rot and other processes catalyzed by microbes.

What if we could mediate these microbial ecosystems through a different, more intelligent architectural system?

STRATEGY:
Integrating Robotic Intelligence

MUTUA is an elegant, home-ready wall panel system that integrates robotic intelligence to tend to crops of microbes. These microbes have specific predefined functions that, when integrated into the home, will fundamentally transform everyday domestic living.

The job of tending to the microbes is delegated instead to distributed artificial intelligence, creating a new form of small-scale microbial agriculture. These are tasks that are tedious and prone to error for humans, but simple for infinitely patient robots.


PRODUCT: MUTUA

Each MUTUA assembly comes flat-packed with a patented panel with thermal tubing and growth substrate, as well as a regulating robot with refillable microbe cartridges. Assembly instructions are provided.

The regulating robot ensures that microbes grow optimally and aesthetically. Using image detection and pattern recognition algorithms, the robot analyzes where nutrients need to be seeded, while destroying unwanted growth.

The cartridge holder in the robot contains both desired microbial functions, as well as antibiotics for killing undesired growth. 

 

 
 

PRODUCT:
Domestic Home as Pharmaceutical Test Bed

Data gathered from each MUTUA panel is uploaded onto a cloud and analysed. New mediation strategies are evolved from this data. A symbiotic relationship develops, in which the evolution of the microbes on these test beds informs us of new possibilities in their growth and applications.

MUTUA changes the way we live. It puts microbial technologies into the hands of individuals while providing a highly mediated environment.

By developing a symbiotic relationship between microbial and human intelligence, new pharmaceutical possibilities can evolve and develop.

MUTUA prototype exhibited at "Our Biotech Future(s)"