Here in Part 2 we continue looking at the radical features of Philips' Microbial Home Probe, a conceptual ecosystem for living that incorporates, as we saw in Part 1, some unusual ideas in sustainable design.
The MHP's Bio-Light system is not for the squeamish, as it uses bacteria to generate illumination. A living "microbial community" with bioluminescent properties is kept alive in hand-blown glass cells contained within a steel matrix. While it is not a practical answer for task lighting or conventional household illumination—the light is wan and certainly doesn't turn "on" right away—it's an interesting first step to take towards lighting that runs completely independently of an electricity grid or batteries.
The Apothecary is a brilliant concept for turning human byproducts into actionable data for the purposes of health promotion. It's a series of technological tools embedded within the bathroom: Sensors behind the mirror analyze the condition of your skin and eyes; the mirror itself captures your breath to search for dietary problems and oral conditions like tooth decay; the toilet "reads" your waste to determine what's going on inside your body; the shower tracks the condition of your hair and skin by analyzing the sweat and whatever else washes off of you. All of that data is then projected onto your body when you stand in front of a mirror, providing a sort of body map that allows you to see problem areas while the system simultaneously suggests solution. It's like getting daily check-ups from a doctor.
The Filtering Squatting Toilet is perhaps the hardest sell, at least for the parts of the world accustomed to throne-style toilets. Philips claims that there's a correlation between squatting toilets and lower cases of colorectal cancers. Usage position aside, this toilet concept filters the relevant parts of the waste to the methane digester mentioned in Part 1, helping to power the house. The waste is also analzyed as part of the Apothecary system described above.
The Paternoster Plastic Waste Up-Cycler is a handcranked plastic recycling station. Bottles or disposable plastic packaging are inserted into the top, then ground into chips. Fungi inside the device with powerful enzymes then break the plastic down over the course of weeks, and while this sounds weird to a layperson, Philips claims this process could theoretically yield edible mushrooms.
If you're interested in learning more about the Microbial Home Probe, click on over to Philips' support site for the MHP project.