Our team hard at work in our bio design lab in the Devonshire building at Newcastle University in our new Thinking Soils lab coats. After some time setting up we have a few projects that are already making use of the facilities. Here, Beate and Thora have been cultivating and experimenting with a biomineralising bacteria and capturing some unique and beautiful microscopic images of their behaviour and crystal precipitation. As well as Luis, who has been focused on developing humidity sensors as part of series of instruments to explore the materiality of bacterial hygromorphs.
We have previously talked about our project on bacterial hygromorphs, which combine materials with bacterial spores that react to humidity in the air. One main challenge in designing with these new materials has to do with our understanding of humidity. In architecture we understand humidity through its effect on building materials, often focusing on pathologies produced by the presence of water. Bacterial hygromorphs, however, reconfigure our material connection to humidity: given their capacity to react to minute shifts in water content, there is a growing need to understand how humidity behaves in interior spaces.
The h_sense project tackles this need by integrating circuitry able of sensing relative humidity and temperature, as well as a data logger to register shifts across time. By deploying a number of devices in different spaces, we will be able to construct ‘humid’ maps that provide insights into the fluid dynamics of humidity connected to specific contexts of use.
The h_sense is designed as an open-source project. We are currently working with Simon Quinton, our Linked Research student, in building a few of first generation of prototypes to do some initial surveys. Detail plans and downloadable files will follow to enable anyone to build their own h_sense.