Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Modern Day Frankenstein

Agi Haines is a designer who has proposed some revolutionary new organs by repurposing other species’ organs for human use.   An example is an organ that could be attached to the heart.  It is created with electrocyte cells from an electric eel, and has enough voltage to correct irregular heartbeats.

Baby with more aerodynamic facial structure
In his paper Creative Problem Solving, Weisberg writes about how it is possible to retrieve a useful analogy from your memory and apply it to the situation you are in.  Agi Haines did this when she came up with the idea of potentially modifying humans to better suit their environment.  She connected Mary Shelley’s story about human modification and enhancement to her situation, which at the time was the 2012 London Olympics.  She decided to try and make a more aerodynamic face so that athletes would be able to better perform at their careers. 

Baby with heat flaps
Her next breakthrough in the creative process was when she decided to look back to the past.  She noticed that many cultures used to change the shapes of babies’ heads so that they would be more socially acceptable.  She then designed a series of babies that would be better suited for future life.  One of these babies has flaps on the side of its head.  This greater surface area would allow the child to dissipate more heat in a futuristic world affected by global warming. 

In a lecture she said, “ I decided to think of myself as Frankenstein and I took different pieces, put them together and thought about different functions that maybe could be helpful.  I thought about the body as a mechanical system with issues that could be technically rectified.”  This perfectly illustrates her analogy of the body being a system that can be modified to become better able to survive.  She looked to animals to accomplish this.  She has proposed using rattlesnake muscles to create and organ that would shake mucus out of the lungs.  This could potentially be able to extend the lives of people suffering from cystic fibrosis substantially.

Video of her talking about her career:

And check out her website if you are interested in seeing more of her designs: http://www.agihaines.com/


  1. This is a process that takes innovation just one step forward - through predicting the most fit trait for our species in a changing world and being proactive. This method will improve on natural selection, which acts too slowly in the face of our changing world. Instead, her innovations could prevent the elimination of huge populations. Extremely fascinating!

  2. The use of rattlesnake muscles to help aid people with cystic fibrosis is an interesting idea and I am curious to see how she plans to bio-engineer that to actually work. While the head slits altered the physical appearance of a person and might be harder to convince people to change their child like that, the muscle additions would be able to help out someone with seemingly less negative consequences. I wonder what other animal additions Haines can come up with next!

  3. This is such an interesting concept of creativity. It reminds me somewhat of Freud and the criticism he faced with his ideas of psychosexual theory in children. There was a lot of backlash when he tied sex and children together, basing all problems to some sexual base. I fear what sort of criticism this creative will bring. This strikes me as "playing god", an idea that many people who hold tightly to religion would not support. Specifically, I noticed this with the picture of the child with flaps to dissipate heat. This would without a doubt guarantee a higher rate of survival in a hostile future environment, but would this creative get the support necessary to be implemented? Or will it die as an idea that never lead to a fully function product that benefited society? Only time will tell.


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