London-based studio Cohen Van Balen works synchronizing design and biotechnology. Their new and unconventional project sees animals as life support ‘devices’ for human patients suffering from renal and respiratory ailments. The ‘Life Support’ concepts offer thoughtful alternatives to inhumane medical therapies, as well as a way for humans to develop a relationship of mutual reliance with an animal.

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In short, their ‘Respiratory Dog’ project consists of using a retired racing greyhound to generate mechanical lung ventilation through its movement. By using the old dog in such a way, it is rescued from a fate of being deliberately killed — which is the case with many retired racing dogs being “of no use anymore”. What’s created is a beautiful co-dependence between the animal and the patient.

Of a similar vein is the ‘Dialysis Sheep’, which consists of creating a transgenic lamb with transgenic kidneys able to clean a human’s blood during the night. During the day the sheep would be free to roam in the patient’s back garden, cleanse its kidneys and drink water containing salt minerals, calcium and glucose.

The concepts that are certainly out there. What do you think — are they right or wrong?

+ Cohen Van Balen

Photo © Cohen Van Balen