Korvaa — The World’s First Microbe-grown Headset


Synbio Powerhouse & VTT


Korvaa is an experimental science collaboration that explores the design and functionalities of novel, bio-based, microbially grown materials. Created in collaboration between synbio scientists, industrial designers, artists and filmmakers, Korvaa documents the development of a headset made exclusively from microbially grown materials.


Synbio (short for Synthetic Biology) is a rapidly developing, disruptive technology that enables the design and engineering of new biological organisms, as well as the re-design of existing biological systems, for useful purposes. Synthetic organisms can produce a variety of desired chemicals, materials, medicine or fuels from renewable raw materials, waste fractions and CO₂. This technology will have a paramount role in the transition from a fossil-based economy to a sustainable, circular bioeconomy.

A headset was originally chosen as the first physical implementation to showcase these microbially grown materials in a three-dimensional form, because of the variety of materials in the product itself. From a design viewpoint, a headset combines various material properties in compact size and form; hard, foam-like, pliable, rigid and solid materials, as well as mesh fabric materials. The name of the product originates from the Finnish language, where ”Korva” has an anatomical meaning (”ear”) and ”Korvaa” is a verb, meaning ”to substitute, compensate or replace”.

We delivered

Concept development, 2D/3D sketching, Prototyping, CMD.