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A surface that brings the ecosystem back into urban environments

Oct 2019

Group project for "EXP" project in MSc/Ma IDE

Role: Strategy Lead

Sponsored by COMPAC surfaces

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Concept accepted into Phase I of the 2020 cohort in the WE-Innovate incubator at Imperial College London

Mass use of antibiotics and disinfectants have created new strains of life-threatening superbugs like MRSA.

According to the NHS, by 2050, more people will die from superbugs than those who die from cancer today.

According to the United Nations, 

by 2050, 68% of the world population will live in urban areas.

Recent studies from 2016 and 2019 show that our obsession with cleansing methods that wipe out microbial life are actual counterproductive to health. The development of superbugs such as MRSA can be at least partly attributed to antibacterial and antibiotics. 

Instead, a new method that introduces harmless probiotic bacteria to surfaces may be the answer.

A probiotic cleaning system is...


more effective than conventional chemical sanitation at decreasing

the growth of antimicrobial resistant bacteria


more effective than conventional chemical sanitation at preventing 

health-care related infections in hospitals

Based on these trends, we realized that as the risk of deadly pandemic increase,
there would be need to return to a more balanced microbial ecosystem.


Thus, we began to wonder...

What if surfaces can re-invite nature and the wider ecosystem into urban environments? 

Over the course of 3 weeks, we iterated through 20 behavioral experiments to figure out existing biases, assumptions, and inclinations about a "living surface"

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Further material experimentation

A slideshow of inspirations and prototyping journey. Hover over images for detailed description.

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Final prototypes

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