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burton nitta’s “algaculture symbiosis suit”

The remarkable design duo Michael Burton and Michiko Nitta have created this wearable for sustenance—the Algaculture Symbiosis Suit. As part of their “After Agri” project, the suit allows its wearer, in effect, to eat sunlight—to feed on algae that would be grown inside the body.

a close up of a woman wearing an elaborate, hydra-like head-and-face wearable of clear plastic tubing, looped and roped together at various intervals, and transporting green alga liquid to the mouth

Burton Nitta write that

Algaculture designs a new symbiotic relationship between humans and algae. It proposes a future where humans will be enhanced with algae living inside new bodily organs, allowing us to be semi-photosynthetic. Almost enabling us to become plant-like by gaining food from light. As such, we will be symbionts (meaning that both entities entirely depend on each other for survival), entering into a mutually beneficial relationship with the algae.

A schematic drawing of the algaculture suit, showing the connections between the wire masses and growth pods for the algae

Treehugger reports that the team exhibited this work at the Victoria & Albert Museum last year. The team live-harvested the carbon dioxide of an opera singer to feed the algae, which could then be eaten by humans; its taste quality would be affected by pitches and timbres of the exhale, creating a kind of echo of the sonic performance.

Side view of an opera singer, mid-song, while wearing the suit. This medium shot shows the tangle of tubing that wraps to the back of the head and loops around the shoulders and back—like a massive oxygen tank or backpack

An exterior shot of the V&A museum, where the opera singer performs on stage, flanked by a man in white lab gear poised above a portable set of algae tanks. A crowd listens.

Image credits and more at Burton Nitta and Treehugger. Thanks, Kristen!

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