October 13th, 2010 | Published in Uncategorized
As reported in Popular Science, architects and cell biologists are teaming up to make biological skins for buildings to wear.
As human skin is remarkably responsive and adapts to changing conditions, building skins would be adaptable and able to respond to environmental factors like heat, humidity, and light, and respond to them efficiently to save energy.
Building Skins Engineers, design architects, and cell biologists from the University of Pennsylvania are using a National Science Foundation grant to study human cells as the models for next-generation building “skins.” They plan to study cells of all kinds, not just skin cells, to create future building “skins.” The work could lead to a new method of sustainable design.
As the article explains: “Cells use chemical and physical reactions to alter the geometry of their surrounding environments, and if scientists can unravel exactly how this happens, they could translate it into bio-mimetic designs, according to Penn. The goal would be to make building-scale sensing and control mechanisms. It’s not clear what building skins would look like, but the goal is to create structures that could one day automatically respond to environmental factors — just like our own skin.”
The research is considered particularly important as it represents a fusion of disciplines working towards a common goal for the public interest.
For more information, read this press release issued by University of Pennsylvania.
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