Just like the surface of a leaf, the ‘skin’ of the Habitat 2020 building reacts to external stimuli, opening, closing and breathing throughout the day through a system of ‘cellular’ openings that allow light, air and water into the apartments contained within. Designed for China, Habitat 2020 improves indoor air quality and provides natural air conditioning – the skin can even absorb moisture from the air and collect rainwater before purifying and filtering it so it can be used by the building’s inhabitants.
They’re being engineered at the NSF-funded Emergent Behaviors of Integrated Cellular Systems Science and Technology Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. They are tiny living machines that can be controlled with electrical or optical signals and use muscle tissue for power. Check it out!