Biohacker Andrew Pelling has figured out a way to create living, functional biological objects that don’t exist in nature — without deliberately modifying DNA in any way. In one experiment, he uses apples and human cells to make ears. But what? And how? And why? Read on.

Today’s must-read stories include a promising way to program bone marrow, Carl Sagan’s “baloney detection kit” and good news for vegetarians (kind of).

How to grow a bone Gif1

Watch an amazing short film in which TED Fellow Nina Tandon and her partner Sarindr Bhumiratana describe their new business: “a revolutionary bone reconstruction company that allows patients to ‘grow their own bone’.” What? Yeah. Watch it.

A biting ant photographed in Western Australia, May 2012. Image: Flickr

Things have gotten a little more sophisticated since the days when biting ants were used to seal wounds. Here, a fascinating, non-exhaustive tour through the extraordinary material advances of the past millennia.

Biocouture's biomaterial can be grown in a vat filled with a sugary green tea solution using a kombucha culture. Once the layer of microbial cellulose is sufficiently thick, it is harvested, washed and allowed to dry. After the water evaporates it resembles a vegetable leather. Image courtesy Biocouture.

What might our clothes look like in 50 years? Textile designer Suzanne Lee thinks the answer lies far beyond the traditional borders of fashion design. She’s experimenting with making materials from living organisms. Might we really wear a bustier made of bacteria? Lee makes her case.


“Like snowflakes, no two pieces of wood can be the same anywhere on earth,” says architect Michael Green in his lyrical TED talk, “Why we should build wooden skyscrapers,” in which he lays out his thesis for designing and engineering the world’s tallest buildings from one of its oldest materials. “Mother Nature has fingerprints in […]