How Is a Car Like a Cow?

At the recently concluded London Design Festival, there was a concept car from a student at the Royal College of Art, Yi-Wen Tseng, the likes of which is rather unusual.

At the recently concluded London Design Festival, there was a concept car from a student at the Royal College of Art, Yi-Wen Tseng, the likes of which is rather unusual.

As Yi-Wen Tseng explained in her artist’s statement, “Our daily lives are filled with the benefits of technological innovation—advanced transportation, electricity devices, or 3D printing. However, many of these are detrimental to the environment, and the situation gets worse as we rely on these products more and more. Technology is also seen as a way to deal with environmental issues, but to the extent where we are replacing nature, rather than working with it. What if we could use potential technologies, not to bypass nature, but to bring us closer to nature?”

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And so she went to work with a 3D printer and developed the “Digestive Car.”

Put simply, she is modeling the fueling of her car on a cow.

Or, as she posited, “the cow’s digestive system is a remarkable feat of nature – an anaerobic powerhouse. What if this organ was replicated in a bio-print, and fashioned into a self-powering vehicle for transport? Could the cow’s digestive system be a vehicle that strikes a balance with nature?”

That’s right: “feed” the car grass, and through processes including rumination and fermentation. . .voila! Fuel.

Presumably there would really need to be a serious catalyst or trap in the exhaust system.

Yi-Wen Tseng acknowledged, “Of course, Digestive Car is a speculative project, relying on great imagination.”

Indeed.