MICOCRAFT: Bio-Inspired Glue for Sustainably Manufactured Products
SPE Global Solutions
The Mycelium Ecological Cobot Crafting (MICOCRAFT) project is set in the context of a new wave of manufacturing companies: additive manufacturing with biological materials, in this case mycelium.
The manufacturer Rongo Design is an upcoming producer of mycelium construction materials from Romania, currently producing indoor sound isolation panels. Mycelium is a naturally grown material offering many opportunities as a replacement material compared to conventional solutions. It has the capacity to act as natural glue, resists water, mould and heat, and has been recognised as an alternative to leather, plastics or foams in various applications.
The MICOCRAFT project will focus on pushing the boundaries of the possible in applying mycelium in construction by inviting the artist and a robotic post-processing arm to engage in a collaboration, exploring how, using robots as our extended limbs, we can enter new domains of form and function for shapes and products made of mycelium.
In order to do this, a collaborative robot will be programmed with mimicking software with the help of technology provider SPE Global Solutions, allowing the robot to ‘learn by doing’, by mimicking the physical movements of the artist, both onsite as well as at distance. The artist ONSITE STUDIO (Sebastien Wierinck) will teach the robot new skills in an effort to produce new forms, inspired by nature, co-produced with nature, executed by industry 4.0 technological solutions.
The MICOCRAFT project’s expected outcome is an installed and operational robotic contour crafting and post-production arm, which will have been trained to produce a series of experimental products and forms, all made with both nature and by human robot collaboration. In addition, the project will lead to an exploration of human-robotic collaborative task developments and an analysis of MICOCRAFT’s potential in this area, as well as other domains of manufacturing.
Specific impacts expected are:
- Reducing the CO2 footprint, namely zero greenhouse gas emissions
- Negative manufacturing footprint (CO2 consumption in biotechnological processes)
- Reducing air and noise pollution in housing
- Ease of product recycling after use (the material is 100% biodegradable)
- Extending the life span of products, and increasing the durability of products