Future scenarios of biomimetic fibre technology
To commemorate their 100th anniversary, Teijin Limited hosted THINK HUMAN EXHIBITION, an exhibition showcasing future visions for fibre technology. Takram created future scenarios for these upcoming technologies and brought them to life with visuals and product concepts.
The scenario takes place in a future society where the environment has changed due to global warming. In this future, through biomimetic engineering, fibre technology has widened its role in society, offering different functions to enhance our everyday lives. Through engaging story and illustration, we introduced the concept and products that appear in this future.
Table of Contents:
Chapter 1: At night, by the approaching sea
Chapter 2: Self-organisation
Chapter 3: SELFORG - a seed for fibre
Chapter 4: Sow it yourself
Chapter 5: Towards a softer world
In the late 21st century, due to the rising sea levels, we frequently saw our shores seeping away. With the receding coastlines, many of the waterside metropolia around the world saw its population moving towards inland, causing a construction rush.
Concurrently, the rising temperature nudges people to move their core times to evening hours. While people started to increasingly enjoy both their work and play during the evenings, the philosophy of “Biomimetics” caught public attention.
Children commuting to school by the coast
Previously coastal industrial area, now under the sea, is a popular tourist spot
“Biomimetics” is a way of thinking that we should learn from nature and mimic its behaviours. People studied and experimented on imitating systems and functions of nature with technology, and by the mid 21st century, the phenomenon of self-organisation was replicated by chemical synthesis technology.
One of the technologies developed based on the philosophy of self-organisation is SELFORG. Under certain conditions, this technology transforms tiny particles to synthetic fibre that looks as if it's grown out of a seed, which is the origin of its nickname- ‘a fibre seed’. The materiality and characteristic of the growing fibre are chemically designed, however, the amount of growth and the strength of those characteristics are also influenced by its planted environment.
On the surface of SELFORG, the fibre that grows out of them is graphically printed, making it identifiable when observed by a microscope. The graphic is made based on the cross section of the fibre, which strongly affects its functionality.
Many of the materials that adopted SELFORG dropped its prices since they were mass manufactured for urban infrastructure work, making it available for consumers too. Fibres that have the functionality to extend its fibres to adapt where it was sowed was used as a glue or filler. Others that are water-repellent, oil-repellent or have structural colouration are perfect for adding functionality to things and is used by many people for DIY purposes.
Through SELFORG, people familiarised with the act of sowing to add functionalities or to make things, giving birth to the culture of SIY (Sow it yourself), an alternative DIY culture using SELFORG.
A spray-shaped device that is used in general households. Inside the device, a SELFORG that creates fibres with molecular structure equivalent to that of gecko’s limbs. When sprayed, it stretches thin fibres with adhesiveness, perfect for storing and attaching daily necessities to walls or ceiling.
A ring-shaped device with a porous structure to put the SELFORG in - the seeds start extending its fibres from the holes once they’re sowed.
The SELFORG used for Wear Ring is designed to form a garment when grown and this created a self-making culture of garments at home. It is also utilised for creating garments that fit the wearer’s figure.
Traditionally for urban infrastructure, from the point of durability and efficiency of running automotive, hard materials were used. However, due to the advancements to the SELFORG technology, fibre materials with self-healing functionalities were developed. The fact that soft materials gained enough redundancy, along with the fact that its softness decreased the damage from accidents and its softness gave mild impression made it favourable for urban infrastructure use.
Application of SELFORG to roads for a soft coating
Application of SELFORG to roads for a soft coating
For road works and construction sites, industrial sowing equipment is used. The sowing can be done directly to existing structures, allowing its soft coating to be done to roads, traffic lights and barriers. They are used not only for repairment and reinforcement but also for adding new surface properties or functionalities.
With the introduction of new urban infrastructure material, sustainability improvement through reducing environmental load and decreasing human stress became an important factor for urban planning. In previous urban environments, roads were covered by hard asphalt and traffic lights and barriers made from hard metal were arranged along the road, but with the new urban planning, these materials are being rethought of, replaced by soft and elastic materials.
This was also due to the increase in accidents caused by the transition of people’s daily lives to evenings. These urban planning methods and philosophies eventually became mainstream, increasing the opportunity in which SELFORG material is used to cover different structures around the city.
The exhibition took place in Shibuya Hikarie, along with other exhibits that showed different futures of what fibres can be.
Kitchen & Company
Maki Ota (ex-Takram), Zijun Zhao
Maki Ota (ex-Takram)