Self-Assembly Lab, Little Devices Lab, Gehrke Lab & Autodesk inc.
DNA disPLAY, a project for the BioMod 2013 competition, was developed as collaboration with the Little Devices Lab, the Gehrke Lab and Autodesk. This project continues a line of research into programmable materials whereby DNA acts as a visual and computational medium. Synthetic biology and DNA nanotechnology are rapidly expanding fields and becoming a new opportunity for designers in both creative and scientific realms. CAD design tools are now emerging that allow anyone to design with DNA for functional 2D and 3D structures. Taking this one step further, DNA has the potential to be the future of drawing and interactive representations where smart lines, shapes and patterns can appear, disappear and transition from one state to another. Acting like “smart ink”, this project utilized DNA by designing the patterns of binding, interactions and transitions from one image to another. In a similar manor, DNA can act as a custom sensor or diagnostic tool to transform a drawing based on fluctuating environments (sunlight, pollution levels, temperature, acid rain, disease, material/chemical composition etc). Architects and designers are increasingly becoming involved with developments at extreme length-scales including space applications and nano-scale technologies. This project explores a future opportunity for architects to design from the bottom-up with the building blocks of life, DNA.