Archive for the ‘Design Frontiers in Biology & Materiality’ Category
Turns out sugar powdered donuts have one major ingredient that you can use to make a solar cell. Titanium dioxide (Ti02).
Also turns out that titanium dioxide is found in many other products including paints and confectioners sugar. What is it about titanium dioxide that would prompt someone to put it in their product? Whiter whites. And what is it that makes titanium dioxide and ideal chemical for making solar cells? Turns out that the stuff is a high-band gap semiconductor.
In 1991, Michael Grätzel and Brian O’Regan created a dye-sensitized photovoltaic cell (Grätzel cell) that use Ti02 as an alternative to more traditional silicon cells. The result was less costly but less efficient cell. The cell uses pretty straight-forward material that works well in low light conditions and has a high price/performance ratio.
For my midterm project I plan to create my own solar cells using titanium dioxide. As fun and tasty as it might be I don’t plan on extracting the Ti02 from a dozen donuts. Instead I will be purchasing some of the chemical from … I have no idea where! Not the easiest stuff to find.
My end goal is to experiment with multi-dimensional solar cells that could be potentially used for one of my sculptures. I also plan on experimenting with different pigments to see which is more successful at absorbing more of the light spectrum and increase efficiency. I am not sure what the two scientists used for their organic dye but there have been other independent experiments that have used rasberries and different teas.
Eduardo Kac is internationally recognized for his telepresence and bio art. A pioneer of telecommunications art in the pre-Web ’80s, Eduardo Kac (pronounced “Katz”) emerged in the early ’90s with his radical works combining telerobotics and living organisms. His visionary integration of robotics, biology and networking explores the fluidity of subject positions in the post-digital world. His work deals with issues that range from the mythopoetics of online experience (Uirapuru) to the cultural impact of biotechnology (Genesis); from the changing condition of memory in the digital age (Time Capsule) to distributed collective agency (Teleporting an Unknown State); from the problematic notion of the “exotic” (Rara Avis) to the creation of life and evolution (GFP Bunny).
Natural History of the Enigma
Excerpts from Kac’s website
Excerpts from Kac’s website
My transgenic artwork “GFP Bunny” comprises the creation of a green fluorescent rabbit, the public dialogue generated by the project, and the social integration of the rabbit. GFP stands for green fluorescent protein. “GFP Bunny” was realized in 2000 and first presented publicly in Avignon, France. Transgenic art, I proposed elsewhere , is a new art form based on the use of genetic engineering to transfer natural or synthetic genes to an organism, to create unique living beings. This must be done with great care, with acknowledgment of the complex issues thus raised and, above all, with a commitment to respect, nurture, and love the life thus created.
I can’t remember ever taking part in a school or class science fair but I do remember growing sugar crystals as part of a class experiment.
First off, what a fail! I remember doing this when I was younger with total success but I was unable to recreate the process.
I did everything correctly.
I gathered the materials. Water, sugar and more sugar.
I let the jar sit undisturbed .
And promptly went to Puerto Rico.
And when I returned nothing happened! My best guess is that there either was not enough evaporation or not enough sugar if you can believe that. While it was certainly a failed experiment it got me thinking about how I could potentially use sugar crystals as a material to “grow” one of my sculptures. I would have to build some sort of framework to encourage the crystals to grow in a certain way to create the shell and also build the structure to suspend the framework in the water/sugar mixture.
But before I get too far ahead of myself I took a quick peek online to see if this is something that others have tried. Sure enough, there are examples of “sugar sculptures” that people have attempted but nothing very complex and, uh, interesting.
So maybe there is something to explore here.
But before I set some lofty ambitions I would need to get some crystals to just grow in a jar for starters!