Initial Concepts


Biodegradable Bone

Concepts utilizing the ability of bone to break down in certain soils



Bone Forestry ^

A concept further developed from the 'Soil Reclamation' section of the investigation. Bone in acidic soil breaks down and raises the pH of its surroundings. A human skeleton will take around 15 - 20 years to break down in peaty soil. This length of time may be suitable to allow for forestry on land which is otherwise useless.

In the Western Isles almost all of this infertile land is currently used for sheep farming.   The income these livestock generate is far less that what is needed for their upkeep. The island itself has a very high unemployment rate, forcing many onto the mainland to find work. Crofting is no longer viable. Those that do keep sheep are provided with government subsidies.

In theory it will be possible to use bone to create a forestry industry in these areas.  Bone pots could be used as a low maintenance method to sustain a tree in these soils for the majority of its lifetime.  When the bone pot has degraded fully the tree can be harvested, and the process repeated. 

This concept could potentially provide extra revenue for both the abattoir and the crofters, whilst reducing the need for government subsidies to these areas.


Bone = Safe electronics disposal?
Bone will remove metal toxins, like lead and mercury, from the soil.   In theory if a electronic product was buried, a bone housing would prevent any metals from contaminating the surrounding soil.


The Healing Vase ^

Using the soil remediation properties of bone to clean-up brownfield sites in which metal contamination is still occurring. Growing trees will further enhance the soil and demonstrate the grounds fertility.



Sub-sea Marker

Biodegradable underwater marker which can be left by divers as an indicator or filled with bait to attract sharks during tours


Bone ‘Natural’ Packaging
Using bone in conjunction with other natural materials, to create unique, biodegradable packaging solutions.

  Biodegradable Garden Tags.
Garden tags which can be composted - unlike the metal and plastic ones in use today. Names can be engraved into the bone.

Biodegradable Gardening Tools
Garden tools which could simply be composted at the end of their life. Rather than storing the tools in indoors they could be stored within the soil, slowly providing phosphorous to the plants surrounding them.



Overcoming Stigma

Treatments or finishes to help make bone more socially acceptable


  Sparkly Bone
Coating bone in a glitter or metal flake - in order to make it appear clean and safe to touch.

Scented Bone

Bone infused with scented oils, aftershaves or perfume in order to associate them with a positive smell

  Glow bone
Infusing bone with liquid acrylic, allowing it to glow in a holy light
  Coloured bone
Dying bone different colours to make them more attractive.

Magnetic Bone

Infusing bone with metal filings within a liquid polymer - allowing the bone to take on magical magnetic properties.


Crystal Bone
Growing crystals within the bone to make it more appealing


Polished Bone
Clean & smooth



Piezoelectric Properties.
When a force is applied to a piece of bone it creates a charge.  

The following concepts exploit this property.




Bone touchpad
Utilizing the piezoelectric properties of bone to create a touch sensitive keyboard.  Each key is separated by two strips of inlayed metal.  Electro-luminescent sheet could be used to allow the letters to glow through the surface.

Bone phone
A unique bone phone which utilizes a bone touchpad.

Bone Cluster Sensors
Clusters of bone cube sensors which form an instrument.  These solid little blocks can be hit or thrown of walls or objects in order to produce sounds.

Responsive Handle
Touch sensitive handle which could be used to ensure safety of people operating dangerous equipment. Their hand has to be on the handle to allow the machinery to function
  Bone buttons
Engraved buttons which are touch sensitive

Pressure sensor

An integrateable sensor



- ve Uses

Products which utilize a bones negative reputation


concepts which could be used for unethical purposes



Biohazard Security
Placebo security products which build upon bones negative associations, such as disease and death,  in order to ward off potential intruders.

  Smuggler Box
A bone box for smugglers to allow passage of illicit goods through airport x-rays.
Luggage Message  
  Smuggling Weapons
Stealthy weapons made from bone which are invisible to metals detectors.


Promotional Use

Treatments or finishes to help make bone more socially acceptable



Cigarette Boxes or Cases
Bone cigarette containers which highlight the detrimental health implications of smoking

  The White Stuff
Using bone as a promotional tool

Charity Bone
Creating eye-catching/shocking charity boxes to raise money for brittle bone disease.



Pyroelectric Properties

A bones charge also varies with heat


  Pipe Sensor
Bone used to sense freezing pipes
  Chicken sensor
Using the pyroelectric properties of the bones within a chicken to determine when it is properly cooked

Bone in Developing Countries



Adobe Mud brick Enhancement

Adobe bricks are typically reinforced with straw, would bone make enhance them further.


Bone Window

Windows on adobe houses typically consist of small holes with a cloth covering. Could the optical and thermal properties of bone be used to illuminate the houses whilst preventing shielding them from the hot sun.


Bone Filter

Using the Porous bone to filter out dirt from water.



Miscellaneous Products


  Bone and fabric housings (skin)
Using bone in conjunction with fabric.
  Raw Meaty Bones
Bone as a natural, healthy pet food alternative.
Thick Skull
A protective layer of bone between you and your phone.
Using bone as an indicator on x-rays
  X-Ray - Kids
Allowing children to create pictures.
  Bone Games
Games and toys made from bone to produce a strange, tactile experience.
  Ivory Gravel Cubes
For the posh estate.
  Skullz Grinding Plates
Grinding plates for roller blades made from bone. Introducing bone into alternative/ skating culture
  Bone Bracket
Strange shelving and furniture solutions.

Bone Soles (souls)
Inlaying bone among rubber to create a very unique range of shoes.  Degrading the rubber slowly reveals the bone within, symbolizing its demise, and the need to replace.


Eskimo Mask
Traditionally Eskimos made masks from bone to prevent snow blindness.  This could be the modern equivalent.


Ghost Watch
Utilizing the semi-translucent properties of bone to create unique digital watches.  The hands mysteriously glow through the bone.

Photograph shows light from a regular green LED glowing through 4mm of bone.

Bone Instruments
For example a flute or a harp. Exquisitely finished and engraved. Potentially containing lights which respond to notes and make the bone glow.


Bone Cutter
Using bone to safely chop food.

  Bone Structure
Utilizing the high compression strength of bone to create structures

Ivory Pigeon Deterrent
Using bone to make sculptural deterrents, to replace the metal spikes currently in use.

  Second Skull

Scrimshaw Reintroduction
Making scrimshaw, the engraving of bone, popular among craft enthusiasts.

  Bone Colour Indicator
A strip of bone within a pen which will soak up some of the ink and reveal its true colour.
Bone Utensils
Utilizing bones thermal properties to create products to be used in hot environments. They will not wear, like wooden utensils or chopping boards, and be more “exquisite” alternative to plastic.
  Natural Horse Shoes
Bone has good compression properties. This may make it suitable for use as a horse shoe.
Bone Laminate  
  Fable Museum
Using bone to create hoax creatures from fables.
Copyright Andrew Ross 2008