Final Major Project | 1 | Inquiry & Investigation

Inquiry & Investigation

For my final major project, I wanted to investigate the possibility of augmenting human health with a device that delivers all the nutrition the body needs via a device or system.

The context was twofold: many of today’s health problems our society face are due to bad nutrition and the lack of awareness about its role on human physical and mental well-being; and we are moving towards climate change, a world in which resources will become more scarce over time, hence food will become more expensive. So, what if we didn’t have to worry about that? What if we could be independent from food for nutrition, getting it from a more reliable, worry free source?

Having said that, for the proposal purposes, my research question was:

What does the human experience of embodying a device or system that delivers tailored nutrition at a nano scale look like? In which ways could it enhance human health and wellbeing?

1 – Literature Review

In order to get acquainted with the context, I’ve done literature review on the following topics:
  • Posthumanism
  • Transhumanism
  • Nanotechnology & Nutrition
  • Digestion of macro nutrients in the cellular level
  • Transdermal drug delivery systems
  • Biochemistry
  • Predictions about the future of food production
  • Philosophy of technology
  • Biomaterials
  • Psychology of eating
  • Anthropology of eating

 

Diagrams and mindmaps from literature review on biochemistry, cellular digestion and nanotechnology

2 – Practice Review

I also found important to get some knowledge about other design projects intersecting food, eating and wearable devices or systems. These are the ones I’ve looked into:
Screen Shot 2019-09-25 at 12.25.39
From left to right: Future Foragers, GoatMan and Amphibio
In the process I also discovered Solar Foods, a Finnish startup founded in 2017, that managed to produce macro nutrients in powder form using CO2, water, electricity, some salts and a kind of bacteria.


3 – Collaboration

In order to gain a more solid knowledge, as well as get a grasp on the feasibility of what I’m proposing, I interviewed a few specialists. I attempted to connect with over 10 specialists in various fields, from nanotechnology to nutrition, but in the end I was only able to speak with three people: a biochemist, a professor from MA Material Futures (UAL) and an astronaut from NASA, who specialises in human physiology and adaptation to space.

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