Most of our environmental and economic problems result from an out–of–date way of doing business. Industry has continued to depend on the same old “heat, beat, and treat” methods that were mechanized in the industrial revolution, but these methods simply aren’t sustainable. Nature, on the other hand, constantly evolves, survives, and thrives, while not using up or endangering its base resources. It reinvents itself, adapting and beginning anew with irrepressible optimism.

(Excerpt from The Shark’s Paintbrush, copyright Jay Harman. All rights reserved.)

According to BBC News Online, we may be looking at a dramatic new trend in manufacturing: growing a product. (Literally.) An MIT lab is studying a type of patterned biofilms for possible use in the development of innovative technologies using a “synthetic biological approach [that] would run at room temperature, avoiding the high energies and harsh chemicals used in today’s manufacturing processes.” I particularly like this quote from team lead and Professor Timothy Lu:

“Just imagine what we could achieve if we could grow physical devices and structures from bottom up using cells and minimal inputs, rather than manufacture and shape them from top down.”

You’ve certainly got my vote, Professor Lu!