Dezeen/Vimeo

Could future generations live on a diet of exoskeleton inside this self-sustaining cricket hive?

Let's all take a moment to pray it doesn't come to this.

What you see above is a dystopian or delicious vision (depending on how much you like to eat bugs) of a skyscraper infested with crickets, given creepy life by Royal College of Art student Christopher Green. With food sources possibly stretching thin on an overpopulated planet, futurists are looking with hunger upon insects, which can be eaten whole in some cases or ground up into delightful-sounding "insect flour" to use for baking cakes that nobody wants. It may sound gross, but anything is better than starving to death, and the protein load would make a fitness buff totally ripped.

Green's idea is to turn buildings into buzzing and self-sustaining hives of edible insects. The honeycomb-like growth on the upper floors is composed of individual "cells" with crickets breeding in the walls. When they get fat and juicy enough, the residents gather them to take to the core of the building where they're processed in grinders and stashed away in food silos. Once the cricket colonies hit their peak population, Green imagines that everyone living in such a building could feast indefinitely on the spiny bounty infesting its guts.

And then, somehow, it gets weirder.

Green envisions each cricket having a little digital tag fixed to its back. Taken together, a cell full of tagged crickets would function as a data-storage unit he thinks about 5 gigabytes per cell sounds right and the tower itself becomes a "living hard drive." In Green's words:

Agriculture, once the forefront of human technology, is now required to provide for the city’s two key nutrients: food and digital data.


The insect becomes the building block, serving as food source, agricultural tool and hybridised digital sensor. These swarms of living particles, digitally activated by memory tags and sensors, inform an architecture and infrastructure of the new human workplace, generating both physical and digital ecologies of food and data production.

Just how would this not result in diners constantly picking bits of crunched-up microchips from their teeth? I'm not sure about that, but perhaps it has something to do with a new line of electronics that's built from organic material like DNA and bacteria. Such "digestible data" is a distinct possibility on the strange horizons of computing.

Dezeen recently posted an interview with the unique mind behind this tower of bugs. Here it is:

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A sign outside a storefront in Buffalo, New York.
    Environment

    Will Buffalo Become a Climate Change Haven?

    The Western New York city possesses a distinct mix of weather, geography, and infrastructure that could make it a potential climate haven. But for whom?

  2. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

  3. A line of stores in Westport, Connecticut
    Equity

    Separated by Design: How Some of America’s Richest Towns Fight Affordable Housing

    In southwest Connecticut, the gap between rich and poor is wider than anywhere else in the country. Invisible walls created by local zoning boards and the state government block affordable housing and, by extension, the people who need it.

  4. photo: a high-speed train in Switzerland
    Transportation

    The Case for Portland-to-Vancouver High-Speed Rail

    At the Cascadia Rail Summit outside Seattle, a fledgling scheme to bring high-speed rail from Portland to Vancouver found an enthusiastic reception.

  5. A syringe sits on top of a car. Houses are behind it.
    Life

    The Changing Geography of the Opioid Crisis

    A new study shows that the country faces different opioid challenges in urban and rural areas.

×