No worries, I didn't assume it was personal. But I did want to make it clear that I had the same initial concerns.
What I find interesting is how vigilant so many people are about the possible problems with new materials, yet how apparently complacent many of us are about the really scary properties of, or consequences of, using existing ones, like Styrofoam, or fibreglass insulation. If we had expressed the same amount of concern about existing petro-based materials, or other harmful materials, to their makers and our government and other authorities maybe we'd be a lot farther down the road to finding valid replacements.
From a business perspective, the fact that a large, successful company like Sealed Air, the inventors of Bubble Wrap, are partnering with this tiny company on a technology that could replace Bubble Wrap tells me that the new technology has a good likelihood of success, and that Ecovative's processes are probably extremely good.
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.
A slew of announcements about new materials and design concepts for transportation have come out of several trade shows focusing on plastics, aircraft interiors, heavy trucks, and automotive engineering. A few more announcements have come independent of any trade shows, maybe just because it's spring.
Samsung's Galaxy line of smartphones used to fare quite well in the repairability department, but last year's flagship S5 model took a tumble, scoring a meh-inducing 5/10. Will the newly redesigned S6 lead us back into star-studded territory, or will we sink further into the depths of a repairability black hole?
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