Neri Oxman: Design at the intersection of technology and biology


Neri OxmanNeri Oxman is the head of the Mediated Matter group in MIT’s Media Lab. She’s a designer and architect by background and her group has developed of a whole string of interesting research projects that explore the relationships between humans, designed objects and the environment in surprising ways.

As she says in the video below:

We live in a very special time in history, a rare time, a time when the confluence of four fields is giving designers access to tools we’ve never had access to before. These fields are computational design, allowing us to design complex forms with simple code; additive manufacturing, letting us produce parts by adding material rather than carving it out; materials engineering, which lets us design the behavior of materials in high resolution; and synthetic biology, enabling us to design new biological functionality by editing DNA. And at the intersection of these four fields, my team and I create.


I said in my previous post that one of the things we should be doing in D&T from KS3 onwards is introducing children to the novel ideas that are at the forefront of design and technology activity – and teaching them how to interrogate these ideas critically.

Neri’s Mediated Matter group is a rich source of intriguing ideas you can draw on.

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2 thoughts on “Neri Oxman: Design at the intersection of technology and biology

  1. Very interesting stuff indeed and links to so much, e.g. systems thinking, biomimicry, materials science. but I’m interested in how you would frame the pedagogy for this Torben? Currently, the entire D&T workforce on social media is obsessed with 3d printing (lights) or 3d printing (a pencil holder). You know this anyway. So how could you do it?

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  2. Interesting stuff. It’s a shame that schools don’t have the regular access to some of these technologies. I was impressed by the Bolton TIC (now under a different name) and the idea of Fab Labs is a great one, but at the end of the day someone has to pay for all this and with budgets being cut and the subject being squeezed it is a tough one. I totally agree that students need to be exposed to these technologies, otherwise, they might never find out! I was talking to my after school club today about the Internet of Things and how it is affecting their lives already. I got an amazing response!

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