k
Silk, Scratch, and lots of vindaloo

With two visitors and a weeklong culinary tour* of Beacon Hill, we’ve had a busy few weeks here at Fathom.

The excitement began with a visit from Fio Omenetto, a Professor of Biomedical Engineering and head of the laboratory for Ultrafast Nonlinear Optics and Biophotonics at Tufts University. He’s also been spearheading an exploration of the use of silk as a material platform for photonics, optoelectronics and high-technology applications.

Mark first happened upon Fio in the waiting room of their kids’ piano lessons. In their shared 60 minute window each Saturday afternoon, Fio stared over Mark’s shoulder at the step-by-step development of Scaled in Miles, and in return described the biomedical applications of silk. It was only a matter of time before Mark lured Fio and one of his researchers, Benedetto Marelli, into the Fathom studio to tell us about their exciting work.

In his lab, Fio and his team have been repurposing silk for a multitude of domains. Silk fibroin, extracted from silkworm cocoons, is a unique biopolymer that’s sustainable, biodegradable, edible, safe to implant in the human body, and technological. Silk can be used as a sustainable material to preserve food, a naturally degradable means of implanting vaccines into the human body, a means of containing and preserving otherwise degradable materials and medicines (say goodbye to the modern refrigerator), a time-release ink for printing, and a myriad of other impressive applications.

Fio, James, Ben, and Benedetto talk about silk and the human genome
Fio, James, Ben, and Benedetto talk about silk and the human genome

Stay tuned for our upcoming developments in silk cutlery and silk-printed posters—they’re going to be huge.

In the latter half of the week, Andrés brought in a friend and active member of the Processing community, Evelyn Eastmond. Evelyn has been working as a software engineer and designer on the Scratch project at the MIT Media Lab for the last seven years. Scratch is a tool that teaches kids how to program interactive stories, games, and animations by giving them the conceptual framework they need to start coding. She’s also currently a faculty member of the Digital + Media program at RISD.

Evelyn came in to share her experience as a developer-turned-designer, or in her own words, she’s a “coder and artist interested in the elegance of abstraction both in coding, as a way to describe complex software systems, and in painting, as a way to describe a personal, visual language.” We’re also excited about the developments she’s been making in p5.js.

We closed out Evelyn’s visit (and celebrated the fourth meal of our culinary tour) with some tasty fare from a local Indian joint.

IMG_3166
Evelyn, Fathom, and an assortment of vindaloos.

Thanks to all of our visitors for sharing their work with us, we hope you stop by again soon!

 

*Henceforth known as the annual Taste of Colubri

Founded in 2010 by Ben Fry, Fathom Information Design works with clients to understand complex data through interactive tools and software for mobile devices, the web, and large format installations. Out of its studio in Boston, Fathom partners with Fortune 500s and non-profit organizations across sectors, including health care, education, financial services, media, technology, and consumer products.

How can we help? hello@fathom.info.