The world’s first microbe-grown headset

Korvaa is an experimental science collaboration that explores the design and functionalities of novel, bio-based materials like fungus, bioplastics and protein-based spider silk. Created in partnership with Synbio scientists, industrial designers, artists and filmmakers, Korvaa documents the development of a headset made exclusively from microbially grown materials.

The result is a pure concept that explores the future of product design.

Case Information


Synbio Powerhouse & VTT


  1. Concept design
  2. Product design
  3. CMF design
  4. 3D visualisation
  5. Prototyping


Made of fungus and yeast

Synbio (short for Synthetic Biology) is a rapidly developing, disruptive technology that enables the design and engineering of new biological organisms and the re-design of existing biological systems for useful purposes. Synthetic microorganisms 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 transitioning from a fossil-based economy to a sustainable, circular bio-economy.

A headset was initially 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 shape; 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”.
This was certainly only a surface scratch into where biology-engineered materials are going and what we can do with them in the future.”
Thomas Tallqvist, Designer


  1. The project exceeded the targeted goals enormously
  2. Media coverage was over 350 million views

Are you interested?

Saku Sysiö

Head of Products,

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