Surviving severe drought is top of this designer’s priorities

Design graduate Jaime Tai uses a natural sugar to help ensure drought survival.

In a future world where water is scarce and the atmosphere hotter, design graduate Jaime Tai believes Trehalose Artefacts could become a household essential. Tai’s range of skincare products and micro-encapsulated clothing is a response to the 2010 prediction that much of the world’s populous areas will be affected by drought by 2030.

Around 25 per cent of the human body’s water content is typically lost through the skin. In an extreme drought, this figure could prove fatal. Tai’s design aims to use trehalose – a natural sugar that protects cells from dehydration – to protect humans from drought by reducing water loss through the skin.

The first part of  the solution is Tai’s trehalose infused skincare range, called TretSk1n Essentials. The range of creams and oils use different concentrations of trehalose, designed to suit the user’s day-to-day needs.

The second component to the solution is the clothing, a tank top and a pair of tights. The garments have the sugar embedded in the fabric, delivering the sugar directly to the skin.

The system would be managed using e-tattoos which track hydration levels and inform users when they may need to reapply the product.

The products were created in collaboration with the UCL Centre for Nanotechnology and Regenerative Medicine. The research and accompanying video form part of Tai’s MA.

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