Bioelectric by London-based product designer Jeongwon Ji challenges the archetypes of electronics through material exploration. Industrial processes have streamlined manufactured products, but what if we allow new materials to be expressive and tactile? Like many of today’s electronic components, the Chinese Mitten Crab comes from Asia. This species has however become highly invasive in the River Thames as well as in other UK rivers. Jeongwon Ji however sees potential in this unwanted local resource. The shells of Chinese Mitten Crabs, along with the exoskeletons of insects and lobsters for example, contain Chitin polymers. These polymers are incredibly strong and flexible. She extracts Chitin polymers from crushed crab shells, and through a chemical-free “slow production” method mixes the crab shells with small amounts of glycerine and red algae. The mixture is then poured into wooden molds, compressed with water and cured to create a new type of bio-plastic for the casings of electronic products
Although production time is longer, this process enhances the tactile pleasure of plastic materials. And thanks to its non-toxic nature, could improve the work life of those who manufacture our electronics.