Philips’ recently debuted the Microbial Home Probe, a concept project that takes sustainable design to new heights with bacteria-powered bathroom and home products. Most of the products in the Apothecary line operate with the Bio-Light system, a community of microbes with bioluminescent properties that live in handblown glass cells in a larger, steel, honeycomb-shaped matrix. Just how much light does bacteria emit? No much, actually. So while it’s not practical for general household lighting it’s a very exciting first step towards thinking way out of the box when it comes to alternative energy sources.
The same system is used to power a line of bathroom mirrors straight out of a sci-fi fantasy. When you look into the mirror, sensors analyze the condition of your skin and eyes. It even takes a sample of your breath and looks for possible dietary problems and burgeoning oral issues like tooth decay. The toilet analyzes your stool and the shower checks the condition of your skin and hair. It reads your sweat and anything else you wash off your body. Then, once all that data is recorded and processed, you stand in front of a full-length mirror and the results are projected onto your corresponding body parts, highlighting problems areas and suggesting solutions. For example, if your iron levels are down, it might suggest eating some leafy greens, or if your hair is greasier than usual, then, you know, whatever the solution for that is.
In addition to the fancy mirror, there’s also a squatting toilet, which, from the looks of it, requires you to lower yourself down and hold onto the handle. Maybe they’ll come out with a throne-style model (as its called in the toilet biz) for those of us who prefer a seated experience. One of my favorite products from the home part of the Microbial Home Probe concept is the Paternoster Plastic Waste Up-Cycler, a Willy Wonky meets modern design take on recycling. You put the plastic goods in the golden funnel and crank them through with the handle. After a few weeks, the fungi inside break down the plastic with their super powerful enzymes. You’ll never have to wonder again whether your recycling is making it to your local plant or if it’s really being sent to a landfill.
There’s a lot more to this amazing and potentially revolutionary system, including an urban beehive and bio-digester island. Click to read more about the Philips’ Design Probes.