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Next Nature

One of the most interesting talks at last month’s What Design Can Do conference in Amsterdam was by the guys from Next Nature.  They look at the junction between politics, design and science to discover some fascinating possibilities.

By Gabrielle Kennedy / 27-06-2013

The potential of nanotechnology is mindboggling and just how designers will use it is still not entirely clear.  Since we last looked in at what these guys were up to during Dutch Design Week, they have added more fiction-as-fact products to make consumers think. 

What’s so good about these products is how they resonate – forcing consumes to really morally consider what the ultimate result of their desires will be.  

Nanotechnology will help designers to make tiny things albeit with big consequences.  The risks are great and the responsibilities even greater.  Discussion now in the early stages is what’s going to make people feel comfortable as well as inform designers how best to proceed.

And what Next Nature allows is regular people – not just government appointed experts and designers - to participate in the conversation.  It is the place to have a debate about emerging technologies.

The Nanosupermarket is Next Nature’s roving exhibition space.  It is uses a caravan that looks like a stealth fighter and inside are various exhibited products made by engineers, designers and artists.

The point is not to sell real products, but to present possible scenarios. Like an energy belt that recharges a telephone using belly fat, and a twitter implant that tweets anything that happens inside your body to a social networking site and a healthcare company.  There are even genetically modified stingray sneakers where you can design your own pattern that is injected into the DNA of a fish.

The question is, would you buy any of this and if the answer is even maybe the conversation can begin.  None of these products are (morally) neutral.  They say something about one’s world-view.

At the Nanosupermarket one can "purchase" products to build up a technology profile  - a profile that reveals where one stands on some of the most controversial scientific issues.

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