Student Work

  • Design and Technology (MFA)

    Hirumi Nanayakkara


    What if powering your home was as simple as plugging into your backyard? Imagine a city where the energy needed to sustain urban lifestyles didn’t come from extracting precious resources deep underground, or dependency on the electrical grid, but from the topsoil around us. Using biotechnology to solve energy concerns with this approach is an emerging area of sustainable research. Presently, this field of study is spearheaded by teams comprised primarily of biotechnologists and is being applied to industrial systems. By taking a multidisciplinary approach to the research and design processes around this domain, information and practical solutions can percolate more readily into ground-level communities -- from urban gardeners to architects -- that can experiment with and implement a more intimate relationship between people and their environment.

    Mytropolis exists as an intersection of practices in art, science, and technology. Everyday objects, such as phone chargers and modular lights systems, are prototyped and powered through experimental electrical generation using bacteria and algae. This work expands on current research completed by Dr. Bruce Logan and researchers at KeegoTech. The methodology behind this approach is viewed through four lenses:

    *Biology: Experiments with bacteria + algae; specifically Geobacter sulfurreducens (which emits electricity as it decomposes waste)

    *Technology: Prototyping through different energy harvesting circuitry

    * Design: creating an intuitive user interface for fuel cells that is designed to power objects by the average citizen

    *Architecture: integrating ecological systems into buildings resulting in large-scale, power-generating structures

    By weaving these specialized disciplines into one form, Mytropolis addresses the need for interdisciplinary collaboration to expedite the process of urban infrastructural change that could potentially transform cities into cellular networks that generate renewable energy. The resulting ecosystem creates a symbiosis between microorganisms and people as they co-evolve into a city that flourishes from the mutually exclusive benefits of renewable energy.


    Twitter: @mytropolis