I'm sorry to sound so negative. Killing fungus spores is notoriously difficult. Neither heat nor dehydration is 100% effective. Maybe they have a good process, let's assume they do. What happens when this stuff is made by the mega-ton? You can expect quality control issues. What happens when it gets wet? I expect it to smell like what it is.
This is not intended to be a criticism of you. It was an interesting article. I would never trust this stuff. But then I am a typical paranoid engineer.
The fungus is not active any more, nor does it smell, nor is it damp. The company already thought of those problems and has eliminated them. Living in a place where mold grows on plastic, as well as every other surface, and being highly allergic to mold and mildew, I made sure to find out all that before reporting this story. As the story says, growth is stopped through dehydration and heat treatment. There's more info about the process on their websites that addresses your concerns.
Interesting, but perhaps one of the worst ideas I've heard of in a while. Just ignore the esthetics, smell and process issues for a while.
Here they are proposing that we take into our houses large amounts of active fungus, specialized in attacking organic matter. My house is made from mostly organic matter and I do not want it to be decomposed.
I am also sensitive to mold, which could be a real issue here. Namely people with sensitivities or who will develop sensitivities to this active fungus.
I understand that fungus is all around us. But why go out of our way to bring vast quantities of it into our houses? It is asking for trouble.
Good point, Ann. For a certain portion of the population, it will be easy to switch to a new esthetic. For the mass market, I would imagine it will take some time, especially if early adopters get ridiculed for their earthy taste.
Rob, I agree in general. But for this material, since it's made out of bulky organic materials in shades of mostly brown, that might be tough to do I still think we need to re-adjust our esthetic sense toward more organic-looking stuff, especially if this is the wave of the future. OTOH, maybe they can grow an outer layer that's a more pleasing color, or use natural dyes or something.
naperlou, I think that's a good question, and one we always have to consider with new technology. Information on the company's two websites is not always easy to find, but I did come across some statements about their process and how scalable it is. Of course, only time will tell.
Ann, I agree with your earlier thought that function can provide its own form of beauty. That said, if there is widespread acceptance of household products and furniture made with new materials, the design folks will be motivated to revamp the early efforts into designs with real aesthetics.
I think Rob has two good points: that it's kind of hippy look may date it eventually--unless by then we're all wearing burlap anyway-- and that no matter how ugly some may find this stuff, if it's inside something--like insulation inside walls--appearance may not matter much.
Natural materials are great, but I wonder how they will scale up. This seems to be a problem for all alternatives to hydrocarbon based materials. The fact is that chemical plants can be engineered to make massive amounts of material quite easily. We hear about these organic alternatives, then it all peters out. Not long ago containers made from corn stalks were going to replace plastic. These are the clear containers that fruits and vegetables might come in. I haven't heard about it much since. I hope that is not the situation here. Reducing our dependence on oil is a good thing.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
The IEEE Computer Society has named the top 10 trends for 2014. You can expect the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices, advances in health care data and devices, as well as privacy issues in social media to make the headlines. And 3D printing came out of nowhere to make a big splash.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.