Edible Technology


I think about design a lot. I used to spend much more time thinking about it and what I have realized is that it might be much more important to our overall happiness and feelings of connected than we imagine. I thought about designs for concrete when I helped my parents with their business, for Ballet, for making costumes or dresses, and even for sailing. What I have realized lately is that these things make me happy because they tickle this spot in my brain that seems to be wired for aesthetic and pattern.

We know that pattern recognition is very important for humans in general and we know that beauty really isn’t in the eye of the beholder, but is a type of brain-world interface. We know that the experience of beauty and the experience of design is an emotional one. Finally, we know that we consist of a type of design. A pattern….No, I am not talking about ‘intelligent design’, I’m talking about our innate biological structure, our chemical make up and DNA that have what we would call patterning.

What has interested me lately is the synthesis of all of this seemingly disparate information I have received throughout my life. It was not a stretch to figure out that the mathematics for symmetry in Ballet, the calculations for making a circular concrete patio and making a Tutu are all pretty much the same. They only appear different on the surface, the underlying intellectual/mathematical structures are the same.

Then I started thinking about food and food makes me think about death. Weird, right? But there are plenty of myths and metaphors in every culture that make the same connections. Of course, you all know that (particularly if you have been reading this blog). I even found out about a woman who is making ‘Mushroom Death Suits”. When you die, the suit will help you decompose and eliminate toxins from your body. You will be come food – for mushrooms.

Now I am thinking about technologies. All sorts of technologies, from scythes to computers, and although they seem very different, maybe it too is superficial. Food and technology have been intimately connected through out our entire existence.

A fairly common thing for a bakery these days – the sugar printer.

Just think about some of the things we could use as interfaces for technologies – what about using something like Mendhi to paint designs on our hands which become interfaces for computers? What about making bio-degradable or edible computer components to reduce waste? What about designing solar power clothing (we all ready have sun-sensitive materials available) to power wearable technologies for people with illnesses? Perhaps a cool, brain-electrical activity measuring hat to read the brains of epileptics in order to gather information on triggers and warn of on-coming seizures…

The human body as a touch screen.

What about this:

This is a little device that allows your plant to send you a tweet when it needs water. Really. What if we could interface with plants in a more intellectual or emotional way? For instance, what if this was applied to the “Mushroom Death Suit” and could tweet to your family members how dear old Gramps was growing up since he died and we planted him? This would give a whole new, and yet extremely ancient, conceptual and emotional experience of death and life. And, let’s face it, wouldn’t this be a better use of your time than Farmville?

None of these thing probably surprise you, but lets follow this back to the beginning, is technology imperative to human happiness? Is pattern and design a physical expression of a quantum consciousness?

It’s time for me to go to sleep, but think about these things….What elements contribute to you feeling most ‘at home’, ‘at one with’, ‘at peace’? I’m thinking about what might be good for lunch tomorrow:

Oregon Tuna Melt

  • 2 can(s) (6-ounce) albacore tuna
  • 1/4 cup(s) finely diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup(s) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon(s) balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon(s) minced basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) crushed red pepper
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4  ciabatta rolls, split
  • Dijon mustard and mayonnaise, for spreading
  • 8  (6 ounces) 1/4-inch-thick slices of Swiss or cheddar cheese
  • 16  1/8-inch-thick lengthwise slices of kosher dill pickle
  • 2 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter, softened
  1. In a medium bowl, mix the tuna with the onion, olive oil, vinegar, basil, and crushed red pepper. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a panini press or griddle. Spread the cut sides of the rolls with mustard and mayonnaise and top each roll half with a slice of cheese. Spread the tuna salad on the bottoms and cover with the pickles. Close the sandwiches and spread the outsides of the rolls with the butter.
  3. Add the sandwiches to the press and cook over moderate heat until the cheese is melted, about 6 minutes. Cut the sandwiches in half and serve.
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