2019 – Eldy S. Lazaro Vasquez and Katia Vega. 2019. Myco-accessories: sustainable wearables with biodegradable materials. In Proceedings of the 23rd International Symposium on Wearable Computers (ISWC ’19). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 306-311. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3341163.3346938
[Best Design Award. Design Exhibition, Category Fiber Art]
ABSTRACT Sustainability has been addressed in fashion, product design and furniture making fields. Recycling and disposing e-textiles has been a concern in this community for years;however, the impact of designing sustainable wearables is still new territory that requires more exploration. This paper approaches sustainability in the prototyping process by producing wearables that make use of biodegradable material for embedding electronics. We have used mycelium, that unlike other biodegradable materials such as kombucha, algae, or bioplastics, has heat resistance, thermal resistance and hydrophobic properties which makes it suitable to apply in wearables. Moreover, this paper proposes a sustainable life cycle that uses biodegradable materials to embed electronics. For example, we embedded an electronic circuit into mycelium skin to make an accessory. After the accessory has been worn, the electronic components can be reused and the mycelium skin composted. Lastly, we present our method for growing mycelium, our design process using common techniques in embedding electronics, and Myco-accessories as applications to envision the possibilities of this material. This paper aims to contribute to prototyping wearables sustainably by intertwining biomaterials and electronics.