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Energy-generating Bricks Can Transform Homes into Efficient Machines

Mich Escultura

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As a society, we’re becoming more and more conscious of where we get our energy from. Companies are now aiming to use more sustainable forms of energy such as solar and wind power. Living Architecture (LIAR) is one of those companies, and their latest innovation is “smart” bricks.

No, it has nothing to do with using bricks to browse the web. Smart bricks extract resources from sunlight, waste water, and air. And as is the nature of bricks, they fit together to create “bioreactor walls” that can be incorporated in building houses, public buildings, and office spaces.

Each block contains a microbial fuel cell that is filled with synthetic microorganisms. Once robotically activated, each chamber contains a variety of microorganisms that can clean water, reclaim phosphate (a mineral that is becoming increasingly scarce), generate electricity, and create new detergents. Each brick contains cells that sense their surroundings and respond to them through the use of digitally coordinated mechanisms, thus transforming buildings into efficient machines.

Smart bricks capable of harnessing energy from the sun, water,

Smart bricks extract resources from sunlight, waste water, and air.

“The best way to describe what we’re trying to create is a ‘biomechanical cow’s stomach’,” said Rachel Armstrong, Professor of Experimental Architecture at Newcastle University, UK, who coordinates the project. “It contains different chambers, each processing organic waste for a different, but overall related, purpose–like a digestive system for your home or your office. The project brings together living architecture, computing and engineering to find a new way to tackle global issues, like sustainability.”

Imagine living in a home where the bricks give you your energy.

Imagine living in a home where the bricks give you your source of energy.

“The technologies we are developing aim to transform the places where we live and work enabling us co-live with the building,” said Professor Andrew Adamatzky, LIAR Project Director for UWE Bristol. “A building made from bio-reactors will become a large-scale living organism that addresses all environmental and energy needs of the occupants.”

One day, we may be living and working inside structures that harness and create energy for us, thus allowing us to live and breathe alongside our buildings!

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