Man-made Biological Leaf
The man-made biological leaf developed by RCA graduate Julian Melchiorri could enable long-distance space travel according to its ambitious inventor. “This material could allow us to explore space much further than we can now." The leaf – like any other plants – absorbs water and carbon dioxide to produce oxygen, and, of course, it needs light, too. It consists of chloroplasts suspended in a matrix made out of silk protein.
Melchiorri wanted to use the efficiency of nature in a human-made environment so he developed the very light, low energy-consuming and completely biological silk leaf during his Innovation Design Engineering course at the Royal College of Art in collaboration with Tufts University silk lab. He claims it is the first man-made biological leaf and can be used at a much larger scale. What he has in mind is that leafs can be also placed outside on a building, for example, to provide oxygen inside. “You can absorb air from outside, pass it through these biological filters and then bring oxygenated air inside."
Images by Julian Melchiorri
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