5 Surreal Gadgets for Surviving a Horrifying Apocalypse

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PostThu Sep 19, 2013 10:23 pm » by Tjahzi


These japs just took it to the next level.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the end of the world came and we were all just gone? Maybe it sounds defeatist, but just think how easy things would be if our impending apocalyptic event happened and we simply disappeared. There’d be no need to rebuild, no need to struggle, no need to adapt our bodies to a forever-altered environment. Of course, no one really knows what kind of world-ending event will occur or how we humans will react, but there’s been plenty of speculation on the subject anyway. One of the more elaborate scenarios dreamt up is from Korean artists Moon Kyungwon and Jeon Joonho, who in their recent project News From Nowhere envision a world on the brink of annihilation thanks to a cataclysmic series of events, both man-made and natural. In this world, the sea level rises and radioactive emissions are released, leaving the remaining water non-potable. To save the world, the artists took a multidisciplinary approach, asking architects, engineers and designers to imagine how life could go on in this dystopian land.

They tasked designers from Japanese design firm Takram with creating a new water bottle that addresses the newfound scarcity of water. Instead of reinventing the standard water holder, the designers got creative. Really creative. “It was a catch-22,” says Kaz Yoneda of Takram. “OK, so you want us to design a water bottle, but there’s not going to be much water to begin with, so how do you deal with that?” Apparently by creating a hyper-futuristic set of artificial organs that are meant to increase the efficiency of our bodies’ hydration system. Functionality-wise, the organs are similar to “stillsuits,” the water-recycling bodysuits worn in the sci-fi series Dune that helped inhabitants maximize body moisture retention in the harsh desert environment. “It became less about how to store water, since there would be very little left,” he says. “And more about how to preserve the hydration that’s already in our bodies.”




Called the Shenu: Hydrolemic System, Takram designed a set of products that minimize hydration loss, allowing humans to consume less water altogether. Though it’s just a concept, the system is so intensely detailed and thoroughly researched it looks as though you could purchase the it at a post-apocalyptic Apple store. The kit, which comes organized in a steel briefcase, consists of five new organs that are meant to be implanted into key locations of our bodies where fluid is most frequently lost.

There are nasal-cavity inserts that prevent water loss through exhalation by condensing the air from our lungs and returning it upon inhalation, and arterial-jugular heat exchangers that work with a pointy neck collar to inhibit perspiration and produce electricity from body temperature. “It’s basically a fancy exhaust system for keeping your body at 98.5 degrees,” Yoneda says. And lest we forget about the biggest moisture-suck of all (urine and rectal excretion), Takram has created a urine concentrator which acts as a mini water filtration and concentration plant and a renal fecal dehydrator that in Takram’s graceful words “works to elongate fecal duration in the large intestine and squeeze out any remaining water.” So yeah, nothing goes to waste in this system.


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Yoneda estimates the organs help retain much of the approximately 2 liters of water humans lose everyday, but around 165 mL still slips past the system. Which is why they created the Rubido, a hard candy-like nutrient that replaces the lost hydration. The prototypes, though menacing by appearance, are made from human-safe materials like titanium, aluminum and ceramic. “We consciously chose materials that were already used in the medical field,” Yoneda explains.

The designer says creating the kit began as an artistic endeavor but soon turned into a conceptual research-driven project. Yoneda says they worked with a doctor to validate their medical ideas, who said that in theory these organs would work, but it’s a whole other thing to actually use them on a person. “It’s quite reasonable for doctors to say: OK, there’s no precedent,” Yoneda explains. “I think a lot of times we really had to fight against this idea of precedent because none of the things we’re doing have been done before. If we relied on precedent we would’ve just gotten stuck at the very early stages of our research.”

So will these organs be inside a human body anytime soon? Probably not, though Takram has fielded quite a few emails from people with medical conditions who are anxious to try them out. “It’s interesting that there is a medical need for some of the things we imagined,” he says. Though Yoneda responds by politely explaining that the organs are just prototypes, there’s always a chance that someday they actually could be a reality. “If some medical institution or doctor is brave enough to collaborate and try to create some of these things we’ll be more than happy to take up that challenge,” he says. “It would be an honor to help people if there’s a real need for it.”

The exhibition is showing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from Sept. 20 to Dec. 21, 2013.


http://www.wired.com/design/2013/09/these-post-apocalyptic-sci-fi-organs-are-meant-for-humans/#slideid-236041
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