Design Probes

Far-future research dialogue by Philips Design

Our newest design probe will be on show during Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven at the venue of Piet Hein Eek. The Microbial Home probe adopts a systemic ­approach to many of the domestic processes we take for granted and asks questions about how we deal with resources. It is a proposal for an integrated cyclical domestic ecosystem where each function’s output is another’s input. It views­ the home as a biological machine to filter, process­ and recycle what we conventionally think of as­ waste – sewage, effluent, garbage and waste water.

The Microbial Home probe consists of 7 concept items:

Bio-digester Island; the central hub in the Microbial Home system consists of a methane digester which converts toilet waste solids and vegetable trimmings into methane gas that is used to power a series of functions in the home.

Larder; an evaporative cooling and vegetable storage system.

Bio Light; a concept that explores the use of bioluminescent bacteria, which are fed with methane and composted material.

Filtering Squatting toilet; a waste separating squatting toilet that filters effluent while channelling excreta to a methane digester in the Microbial Home system.

Urban Beehive; a concept designed for keeping bees at home and to create an urban refuge for bees as global bee colonies are in decline.

Paternoster; a concept for a domestic (or school) plastic waste up-cycler that uses mycelium to break down plastic packaging waste.

Apothecary: a concept developed for slow-diagnosing at home using 4 diagnostic tools.

During Dutch Design Week we will highlight all of the concepts more in depth on this blog and hope to get feedback and share insights.

Views: 135

Comment by Wayne Surber on November 2, 2011 at 5:06pm

What are the chances that Philips would be interested in doing a small commercial scale kitchen in partnership with a startup small business in Brooklyn? i.e. my business, who can I contact if so? 


Comment by Design Probes Moderator on November 4, 2011 at 1:25am

Hi Wayne,

depends on when you need it I guess... before 2016?

Comment by Wayne Surber on November 4, 2011 at 1:29am
yes, but it could be part of our 5-10 year plan. We know Rome wasn't built in a day.
Comment by Design Probes Moderator on November 4, 2011 at 1:47am


I would then suggest to check this blog regularly until 2016, you will be the first to know.

One question for you, are you interested in the kitchen from a sustainable point of view or from an aesthetic point of view, or both of course?


Comment by Wayne Surber on November 4, 2011 at 4:35am
Both. More to the point, I think sustainability is essential for the business and household of the present and future. We have too few resources for our population. I also appreciate design. Like this MacBook Air I'm typing on.


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