A young designer from the Royal College of Art in London, Revital
Cohen, described a world in which animals might replace the machines
and medical devices keeping many humans alive. She spoke to an
audience attending the Expo, Design Indaba in Cape Town, South Africa
at the end of February. Her presentation was about her "Life
Support Project."

Ms. Cohen's proposal is to use transgenic animals, those who are genetically designed for certain purposes, for food or sport or as medical subjects, as life support for humans with disabling conditions after the animals retire from their original purposes.

One example Ms. Cohen discussed was the use of greyhounds as a
possible respiratory assistance dogs. As a greyhound bred to race is
trained to chases a lure, spends up to five years chasing that lure,
and is then generally euthanized, why not train the dog as a
respiratory assistant instead of killing the dog? Citing that a
greyhound with his large chest and need for exercise is well suited to
this job, the dog would also not succumb to separation anxiety because
he would be a constant companion to the person depending on him for his
life.

 

 

 

Another possibility Ms. Cohen proposed is to use a sheep as a
"dialysis machine," first designing a sheep for that purpose , and then
connecting the sheep to a patient suffering from kidney failure via
"blood lines" to the patient. The sheep's kidney would cleanse the
blood, urinating its toxins, and return the cleansed blood to the
patient.

Ms. Cohen's primary goal seems to be to keep both the
patient and animal alive in the case of the greyhound, but mostly to
provide the patient with companionship in the case of the sheep, as the
sheep would have to be transgened specifically for the job of "dialysis
machine."

It's the opposite of biomimicry. Shall we call it technomimicry?

 

 

What are your thoughts about Ms. Cohen's Life Support Project?

 

via DeZeen (A portion of Revital Cohen's presentation is available on DeZeen)

 

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