Fabric sculpture purifies the air

May 7, 2018

A giant, air-purifying sculpture is not just art; it has the ability to absorb emissions from 90,000 cars per year, its creators say. “Breath/ng” by Kengo Kuma, initially on display during Milan’s 2018 Design Week, is composed of 120 hand-folded panels inspired by Japanese origami and made of an innovative fabric called The Breath®. Italian …

Shoes are hand-made from fungi

April 23, 2018

Engineering firm nat-2 has developed fungi footwear made of “mushroom leather” that has a vintage look and is reported to be very soft. The leather-like material is created from the trama of the tinder sponge, fomes fomentarius, which grows on dead or weak birches and beeches. The material is organic and chemical-free and the fungus gives it …

“SHIFT” from acoustic panel to shelving

April 9, 2018

Benjamin Hubert’s London design agency LAYER will be launching a flexible, retail shelf system for Danish textile manufacturer Kvadrat. The system called “SHIFT” is LAYER’s first collaboration with Kvadrat and the result of ten prototypes over a period of six months. The shelving is made from Kvadrat’s Really Solid Textile Board, a material made of …

Digitally woven textiles copy origami paper structures

March 26, 2018

Studio Samira Boon collaborated with the TextielMuseum’s TextielLab in Tilburg, the Netherlands, and Professor T. Tachi from the University of Tokyo to translate traditional paper folding into digital weaving techniques. The computerized origami structures are able to incorporate smart properties to adapt to their surroundings, including being responsive to light, heat and sound. Archi Folds, …

Muskin “leather” is grown from fungus spores

March 12, 2018

The production of leather and textiles is often a resource-heavy process, and the industries are responsible for diverse impacts, including human, animal or ecological, depending on the material type and production methods. The growth in popularity of vegan lifestyle choices, as well as an increased concern for animal welfare in livestock farming, has prompted a …

Cephalopods may be the key to better camouflage for soldiers

U.S. Army Operational Camouflage Pattern uniforms could benefit from a new study about cephalopods. A research team led by Leila Deravi at Northeastern University has set out to discover how the stealth capabilities of cephalopods could help protect soldiers. Cephalopods are tentacled mollusks including squid, octopi, cuttlefish and the nautilus. These species can change their …

Waterproof boots are made from corn

January 22, 2018

Your new rain boots could offer something quite distinctive; the smell of popcorn while doing chores or stomping through puddles. These nature-inspired, waterproof boots are made from rubber and recycled non-food-grade corn. They’re designed by Sebastian Thies and manufactured by the German company nat-2™ in Italy. Besides the distinct smell of popcorn, the semi-transparent boots …

“The Shoe That Grows” designed for children

January 8, 2018

In 2007, Kenton Lee was living in Nairobi, Kenya. One day he noticed a little girl wearing shoes that were way too small for her feet. Lee wondered, “Wouldn’t it be great if there was a shoe that could adjust and expand, so that kids always had a pair of shoes that fit?” And “The Shoe …

NASA’s BEAM textile module will stay on the ISS

December 20, 2017

NASA has decided to keep the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) on the International Space Station (ISS). The textile module will stay attached to the ISS through 2020, or possibly longer. The ISS crew’s studies have shown that soft materials can perform as well as rigid ones for habitation volumes and that BEAM has performed …

Soft robot “muscles” draw inspiration from origami

December 11, 2017

Researchers from the Wyss Institute, Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have developed origami-inspired robot muscles that can lift up to 1,000 times their own weight. According to TechCrunch, the researchers say that the new, soft, robotic artificial muscles can be constructed in as little as 10 minutes …