Research Area D

The development of living materials systems will be part of the scientific and technical progress in the Anthropocene, the current era in the history of the Earth dominated by human impact on life and inanimate nature. Living materials systems confront both scientists and society with sustainability issues and certain attitudes and preconceptions.

Sustainability assessment during technology development will act as a strategic radar which will provide guardrails for system generation in livMatS. Such sustainability issues and traditional notions of what is considered “natural” and “artificial” or “living” and “inanimate” have an important impact on the acceptance of materials systems and products by the general public. Instead of first completing the technological development and then analyzing its societal implication, we will closely interweave technology development, sustainability assessments, behavioral analyses, and the philosophical discourse on the interplay of human control and autonomy of systems.

In a novel integrative and highly interdisciplinary approach livMatS connects experts from the natural and engineering sciences with those from sustainability analysis, psychology, and philosophy to

  1. examine nature not only as a space of value-free description, but as a normative concept in the “Anthropocene”,
  2. systematize, reflect on and assess the attributes of living materials systems,
  3. jointly analyze livMatS demonstrators and possible future applications as to their sustainability and their impact on society.

Projects within Research Area D

  • livMatS as part of and reaction to the Anthropocene: Sustainability assessement and investigation of psychological and philosophical implications of living materials systems
  • Collection and evaluation of basal attributes of living materials systems
  • Predicting attitudes and behavior concerning living materials: Develop software and analyses methods to apply cognitive affective maps
  • Development of a TAPASS (Tiered Approach for Prospective Assessment of Benefits and Challenges) and first applications
  • Demonstrator for soft autonomous machines ‐ soft robotic low energy gripper systems based on livMatS Materials with sensing capabilities
    This project is a collaboration between research areas B, D and Demonstrators.

Compact Projects 2020

  • The concept of life in livMatS and the Anthropocene
    Principal Investigator: Prof. Lore Hühn