For sustainable society


The world’s first headphones “grown” from bio-based materials

The future headphones may be built from fungus and biosynthetic spider silk. Aivan, multidisciplinary design studio based in Hlsinki, unveiled “Korvaa” that is the world’s first headphones made from microbially grown materials. This is the first case to physically implement Symbio (synthetic biology), showing a potential for shifting from a fossil fuel-based economy to more sustainable circulation.

Aivan product designer says, “we’re looking at these different materials and their properties, trying to figure out how to use them, and what to make out of them — as opposed to designing an item and then figuring out what materials we want to use.  The process is really analog, and this project is set apart from any other contemporary, wearable-tech project.”

There are two versions of the Korvaa headsets, and each headset consists of the below six microbe-grown components with different properties: (i) lignin-free cellulose that is enzymatically produced; (ii) 3D-printed biodegradable microbial bioplastic polylactic acid (PLA) for headbands; (iii) a leather-like fungal mycelium for the soft foam material for ear pads; (iv)biosynthetic spider silk for the mesh-like material inside the earphone; (v) a composite of fungal mycelium and bacteria cellulose; (vi) and protein foam with plant cellulose.

The reference materials about the processes for creating both headphones will be displayed until September 19 at the “Fiskars Village Art & Design Biennale 2019” and on September 5-15 at “Helsinki Design Week 2019”.

Photo:multi-disciplinary design studio Aivan