December 6, 2021
Google and Biodesign Challenge Pick Winning Student Ideas in Biotech
Ultimately, the goal was to demonstrate the impact of biotechnology—a domain that melds art, design, and biology—could have within this market. BDC is aimed at promoting this emerging field by establishing a community of bio-designers, inspiring cross-disciplinary, collaboration and guiding public discourse. Reimagining these increasingly pervasive products is one way of addressing and possibly mitigating the looming environmental crisis.
“Sustainability and solving global environmental issues are the biggest challenges we will face as a society,” says Nathan Allen, head of design for special projects at Google. “We developed the Biodesign Sprint with Biodesign Challenge [to] facilitate new thinking and new ideas for some of these issues, prioritizing creativity, imagination, and innovation over the way things have always been done in the past.”
Announced early last month, the four finalists were selected by a jury made up of both Google and BDC experts. Lokus.Found—an Indonesian art and technology nonprofit—prototyped resins from seafood waste and pine trees as an alternative to fiberglass. Non-student runner-up Brave Crocodiles—a Concordia University and OCAD University–based team—proposed the construction of a waste stream database that harnesses community mapping to source sustainable raw materials and bioremediation services.
While student winner Mobius—a Brown University, RISD, and Cambridge University team—proposed a microbial chitin replacement for the production and disposal of printed circuit boards, runner up BI/O—out of Pratt Institute—created a drop-in solution for the Google Nest Mini that uses living microorganisms and stored carbon to create durable and home-compostable external hardware. All these winners now have the chance to work with the Google Hardware Design Studio to refine their designs and eventually bring them to market.
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