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speculative design, design research
‘What more is to come?’ Project today’s design and science trends 180 years into the future to envision humanity in 2200.
The project explores the potential future of human evolution, wherein DNA could be modified to adapt to various medical, functional, or survival requirements, enabling humans to evolve into a more advanced species capable of thriving in challenging environments. This transformation could be facilitated by a new organ located on the belly button, allowing individuals to be "reborn" as a more advanced version of themselves. This is a collaborative work by Livia Papiernik, Leon Grillet, Liner Shen, Shang Wu and Hyehyun Song
The project was awarded the second prize in Grand Challenge 2020, supported by Logitech and Cern.
01 Background: Rising Sea Level, 37.7ft in 2200
Based on research, it is predicted that in an extreme scenario, sea levels could rise up to 37.7ft. This rise is primarily caused by human activities such as mass production, transportation, and energy generation. By 2200, it is assumed that the Earth will be overpopulated, and people will have to cope with challenging living conditions and scarce resources.(Image source: https://sealevel.climatecentral.org/)
02 Technology: Democratization of Genomic Modification
CRISPR is a gene-editing tool that can precisely cut and paste new DNA sequences into targeted areas. The latest version, CRISPR-Cpf1, has a small molecular size and low mutation rate, making it easy to enter targeted cells. Additionally, the cost of complete genome sequencing has dropped dramatically over the past 20 years, now costing 100,000 times less than before (from 100 million to 1K).
03 Insight: Animal Adaptation
Unlike other animals, humans have altered their environments to suit their needs, resulting in widespread destruction. In order to ensure their survival, humans must adopt a new way of life that emphasizes adaptation to challenging environments through DNA modification. This means relying less on external tools and instead utilizing genetic manipulation to avoid repeating the same mistakes.
01 Fennec foxes use their large ears to dissipate excess body heat in the desert.
03 Tardigrades can survive for up to 30 years without food or water by slowing down their metabolism.
02 Penguins can survive in extremely cold environments due to their thick skin and a layer of fat that provides insulation.
04 Speculation: The Injection of the Future
Injections are an efficient way to bypass the body's natural biome selection and effectively target organs. However, they can be painful, unsafe, and unsustainable in a world with limited resources. Therefore, we have designed a futuristic injection system that involves implanting an organ onto the belly button. After birth, belly buttons lose their functionality, but with our design, they can regain their biological purpose by serving as a platform for DNA updates.
At birth, individuals will have a small organ implanted on their belly buttons. This organ can receive DNA-coded capsules, which, when activated by touch, will cause the organ to twist and absorb the capsules. This genomic enhancement is intended for medical, functional, and survival purposes, drawing inspiration from various animal species. As we get nutrition and be able to be born as a human species, the belly button allows us to have the ability to adapt to the new environment and be born as a new species.
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