Only at the Brooklyn restaurant Marlow & Sons and 2 sister eateries can you order a steak or pork chop and walk off with the hide of the locally sourced, grass-fed animal it came from. A new line of Breton tote bags (1st image) has price tags ranging from $300-400 and is "for our customers at the restaurant who have eaten those animals," says designer Kate Huling. "We're interested in people having another opportunity to really honor the animal...and being a part of the whole process." The meat is delivered weekly and is either sold in the butcher shop or served at one of the restaurants, and the skins are delivered to a tannery and then made into leather goods in Midtown. In addition to bags, there are belts, footballs and wallets. Next fall: rabbit-fur hats and lambswool sweaters.
A new device has been developed to assist in the recovery of burns. The skin gun (2nd image) sprays skin cells onto burns like spray paint, achieving in an hour what took weeks to do by grafting. Though still experimental, the skin gun has successfully treated more than a dozen burn victims by spraying a solution that incorporates stem cells from the patient's healthy skin.
Scientists have figured out how to grow tiny nuggets of meat in the laboratory and promise that it will be possible in the future to produce beef and pork without raising and butchering cows and pigs. Meat cultivated in labs could eliminate contamination problems like food-borne ailments; address environmental concerns like land use and release of greenhouse gases; and help feed the rising demand for meat worldwide. The cells would be embedded in synthetic biodegradable matrixes in the necessary chemical and physical environment to develop. The muscles that grow would be electrically stimulated and mechanically stretched to exercise them and help them mature properly. Dutch biomedical engineer Mark Post thinks marketing would overcome any objections: "If every package of naturally grown meat by law should have the text, 'Beware, animals have been killed for this product,' I can imagine a gradual cultural shift."
Designers James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau have come up with the idea of household objects that sustain themselves - by eating meat. The digital wall clock will work for about 12 days on the energy from consuming 8 flies, so it doesn't need batteries or electricity. Similarly, a lamp is powered by incoming flies, which are attracted to a honey-covered belt, get scraped off by a blade, and fall into a microbial fuel cell that turns organic matter into electrical energy. The coffee table, however, is powered by mice. They are lured up the leg of the table with cheese bits and guillotined by a rotating blade in the hole on top. The artists say that their furniture is just a newfangled version of all those nature documentaries on TV that show animals hunting in the wild: "A fly buzzing around the window suddenly becomes an actor in a live game of life, as the viewer half wills it towards the robot and half hopes for it to escape." More down-to-earth co-designer Chris Melhuish of Bristol Robotics explains, "We want robots to be able to get their own energy from the environment."