RCA graduate Julian Melchiorri developed a synthetic biological leaf, titled the 'Silk Leaf,' that can produce oxygen from carbon dioxide just like a regular plant can. He posits that his design could facilitate space travel over longer distances.
"Plants don't grow in zero gravity. NASA is researching different ways to produce oxygen for long-distance space journeys to let us live in space. This material could allow us to explore space much further than we can now."
The project is part of the Royal College of Art's Innovation Design Engineering course (in collaboration with Tufts University silk lab) and features chloroplasts suspended in a cast of silk protein. Melchiorri notes that the material has "an amazing property of stabilizing molecules," allowing the synthetic material to photosynthesize as a living plant does.
This Synthetic Biological Leaf Has Amazing Scientific Impact
Vasiliki Marapas — July 26, 2014 — Tech
References: julianmelchiorri & dezeen