Final Project Presentations

The final presentations will take place on Wednesday, May 2, 12pm-2pm.

Lower Level Atrium, Biodesign Institute
727 E. Tyler St., Tempe, AZ 85287


Please email me your powerpoint slides no later than Wednesday, May 2nd at 11am, or bring your slides on an external USB drive. All presentations will be done using the room’s computer, you will not be able to plug in personal laptops to present.

A strict time limit of 15 minutes will be enforced for your presentation and demo. Please rehearse ahead of time, as you will not be able to go over the time limit, regardless of where you are in your talk or demo. This time limit includes any fumbling/technical difficulties/etc so I suggest arriving to the presentation room early to make sure everything works.

I will have an office hour Tuesday, May 1 at 2pm in Stauffer B270 if you want to run through your talk and/or get some feedback.

Presentation Guidelines:

The presentations will be evaluated according to the Biodesign Challenge criteria. In addition to following the guidelines below, your presentation should show a clear timeline of work from May 2nd up until the Biodesign Summit in NYC. At the very least, your presentation must include:

  • Motivation
    • A clear problem statement or rationale for your project
  • Prior/related work
    • Show related projects the convince us that your idea is feasible and new
  • Your design concept
    • The big vision of your project
  • Demo of physical artifact
    • An artifact showing some aspect of your big vision
  • Societal impacts of your concept
    • A careful consideration of who will be impacted by your project, as well as any unintended consequences, risks, etc.
  • Timeline for future work
    • Convince us that there is more work you can do here, and that your team is committed to continuing this project in May/June


Below are more detailed guidelines from the Biodesign Website.

Projects will be judged on:

  1. Conceptual elegance
  2. Presentational strength
  3. Consideration of various cultural and environmental factors



Is the project original? Does it approach the chosen problem in an innovative way?


How gracefully and powerfully does the project respond to the chosen problem or issue? How effectively does the designed product or process communicate values that go beyond its formal and functional qualities?


How well does this design work to solve a real-world problem or enhance some aspect of culture?



Each team is expected to use a 15-minute presentation to tell the story of their design. This presentation should explain how the design works, the needs that it meets, the science driving it, and how it may be adopted in the commercial world. The presentation and slides should be fun while treating the design idea seriously.



Each team must produce a poster illustrating the look, functionality, and possible uses of their design. Teams should also create physical models of the design. These models should capture the look and feel of the design.





Has the team deeply considered the possibility of its design coming to fruition? We subdivide feasibility into several criteria:

A. Science
Any science that the students describe should be based in reality. We’re asking students to consider technology that will likely become available five to ten years from now. Has the team demonstrated that trends in current science indicate that their vision will be possible?

B. Suitability
What makes a biotechnological solution the best method to address this problem, as opposed to other technologies or social solutions? Has the team considered why a biological design is the right fit for the problem?

C. Compatibility
How does this vision fit into already-built systems? Does it require an entirely new infrastructure to be built along with it?



In what ways does the product or process have the potential to both positively and negatively impact humans and their environment, and in what ways has the designer worked to mitigate the negative and maximize the positive impacts?

A. Users
How does the design change the lives of those who use it?

B. Nonusers
How does the design change the lives of those who don’t use it? These people might include workers involved in its manufacture as well as those who don’t have access to the new design or can’t afford to pay for it.

C. Scalability
Has the team considered how widely its design might be used? Is this a product or process that’s meant to change an entire global system, or is it a niche product for specific markets?

D. Ethics and cultural suitability
Has the team considered ways in which the vision fits with the moral principles of the cultures meant to use it?



Can the project be achieved with methods that do not deplete or destroy natural resources?

A. Environmental impact
How does the team intend their design to interact with living environments at the sites where it’s manufactured, used, and disposed of? Is the product or process intended to change the living environment? How so?

B. Efficiency
Does this product or process use fewer resources—for example less water or energy—than products currently available?

C. Life cycle
Has the team considered their design’s entire life cycle? Can it be recycled, or reused in other ways?



Has the team considered the potential negative effects of its vision?

A. Safety
Has the team accounted for possible harm to human health and the living environment associated with its product or process malfunctioning? Has the team changed their design to mitigate these risks?

B. Dual use
In the hands of someone with ill intent, any design can be used nefariously. A hammer, meant to bang in nails, can be turned into a murder weapon when swung at a person. Nuclear technology can be harnessed to create energy, but also to create a bomb. Has the team considered how their design might be harnessed for ill intent? Has the team considered how its design could be negatively exploited, and how to mitigate that risk?

Top 2 concepts

For this assignment, your team will select your top 2 Biodesign project concepts. These could be two completely different directions you’re considering, or 2 variations of projects along the same theme. Ideally, these concepts are based on your storyboards.

For each concept, post

  • a storyboard and 2-3 sentence summary of the concept, including who the target community or user is (your storyboard could be one of your storyboards from last last class, or an updated scenario/storyboard)
  • a link to at least 2 related projects or similar work
  • potential social, political, ethical impacts of the project

This assignment is due by 11.59am on Monday, March 19. Bring your storyboards to class on Monday!

This assignment is worth 6 points

2 points for the storyboards and description of each concept

2 points for posting related work for both concepts

2 points for discussion potential social, political, ethical impacts for each concept


Interactive mycelium prototype

In this assignment, you will work with your mycelium 3D shape to develop an interactive prototype. Your project must include the LCD screen as an output. At the very minimum, your project should be responsive to something in the environment.

You can use capacitive sensing to support user interaction directly with the mycelium object (via capacitive sensing), or have external sensors (e.g., the pulse sensor), or environmental sensors (light, temperature, etc.).

Ideally, your project illustrates a design concept that explores the sustainable/eco-friendly aspects of your enclosure.

You can see some example Mycelium projects here.

A blogpost documenting your project, including code and a video is due on the blog by 11.59 pm on Friday, March 2nd. Tag the post with the mycelium category. This assignment is worth 4 points:

2 points for creating an Arduino circuit and code that makes your mycelium project interactive, and uses an LCD screen as output
1 point for video documentation and a description of how you made your project
1 point if your mycelium project is creative/fun
1 bonus point if you clearly articulate how your project relates to the biodegradable/sustainable aspects of the mycelium enclosure

Post to the IM 2018 forum

Please post or respond to someone else’s post on our IM Forum to begin thinking about final project ideas and groups.

Post suggestions:

  • Share your technical and/or creative strengths and describe what you can bring to the team
  • Describe who you are seeking for your team (what kind of strengths/skills/working styles are you looking for?)
  • Share a biodesign project that inspires you
  • Ask a clarifying question about the Biodesign challenge or the class
  • Suggest a possible final project topic or area of interest
  • Share a (bio)technology, sensor, material, or device that you’d like to work with

This post is worth 1 point. It is due by 11.59am on Monday February 26.

3D Mold for Mycelium

Update: please post the final version of your mold that fits the following requirements by the beginning of class on Wednesday (11.59am). Bring your mold to class and be ready to work with mycelium. There will be no time to iterate on the molds on Wednesday.

In this assignment your group will prepare a 3D shape to be used as a mold for growing your mycelium project. You can use a combination of existing 3D objects (household items such as dishes or appliances), along with rapid prototyping materials (playdough, duct tape, cardboard, foam), and digital fabrication tools (laser cutter, 3D printer) to create your stencil. Your design should be big enough to fit a LCD screen, at least two capacitive sensors and other electronic components of your choice (e.g., LEDs). You will be using Adafruit’s USB + Serial Backpack Kit with 16×2 RGB backlight negative LCD. The size (length x width x height) of this whole LCD unit is 80 x 36 x 20 mm (3.15 x 1.42 x 0.79 inches)

When preparing your mold, make sure it has a draft angle of  3 degrees or higher.

What is draft angle? In order to easily remove your Mycelium object from your mold, the sides of the mold need to be angled. This prevents the Mycelium from becoming locked into the mold. The mold taper is called the draft angle.


Additional Resources:

This video shows how we embedded micro LEDs with Mycelium.

You can see more Mycelium projects here.

Post a picture of your mold on the blog by 11.59am Monday Feb 19, and bring the mold to class on Monday. It is worth 1 point towards your mycelium assignment. You will not be able to complete the mycelium assignment without this step. On Monday we will go through your molds, work on how to use LCD displays, and prepare copper tape based capacitive sensors to be embedded in Mycelium.

Happy mold making 😀

Bioart Stencil

Please watch this video on screenprinting with vinyl stencils.

Using a digital photograph of your antibiotic-responsive experiment, create a black/white image. You can use the trace or magic wand tooltips in Adobe Fireworks to trace the features you want. In order for the stencil to be cut on the vinyl cutter, the edges have to be smoothed out.

Email the image to Piyum by 11.59pm on Sunday Feb 4. And post your stencil on the blog.

This assignment is worth 1 point, but it is required for you to be able to complete the rest of the bioart project.