According to the USDA, America wastes 96 billion pounds of consumable food every year - roughly 27% of the 356 billion pounds worth of edible food available. The waste of that food represents not only mouths not being fed, but time and energy lost forever for no good reason. What if there was a way to use those leftovers for positive change? Not necessarily by feeding more mouths, but turning that food into actual energy? The "Microbial Home" created by Philips' Design Probes initiative may be the answer to that!
The home is designed to process what might conventionally be thought of as waste, like sewage and garbage, and process it into energy. It is cyclical ecosystem consisting of several parts. The first part is the "bio-digester island" which takes waste and converts it into methane gas, which is then used to power other parts of the kitchen, including the lights and the range.
This is connected to the "larder," which is an energy efficient refrigerator alternative which stores foods in their best environmental conditions. Think of it as something like a suspended garden that keeps food living as long as possible without any energy-intensive or synthetic chemical technologies involved. The shape and size of the larder's compartments will have to vary depending on what geographical region it's located in, since location influences temperature, climate, and what crops are in season.
Another extraordinary part of this design is the concept for a home apothecary which would monitor your health by analyzing your body's microbiota. Imagine a mirror with sensors behind it that could analyze the ongoing condition of your skin and retina and alert you to any potentially harmful changes, or a toothbrush that could monitor your oral health by examining your saliva and plaque.
The microbial home also includes a filtering toilet, which feeds into the bio-digester island (turning waste into energy) and a "bio-light" which is a series of glass orbs filled with bacterial cultures that glow green through bioluminescence. Everything in this design is meant to change the way people think about waste, encouraging more innovative and creative thinking as to how we should use our resources.
This is an entirely new type of "smart home" that is not only tailored to providing a better life for any given individual, but for the environment at large as well.
Photo Credits: Philips