Sarat Babu (Materials Innovation, 2015)Finger Smaller

Sarat Babu

Fellow in 2015 for Materials Innovation

Sarat’s work spans the disciplines of Art, Design, Craft, Technology, Science, Engineering, Manufacturing and Medicine and it is where these overlap that innovation he finds has the most significant impact;. In spite of using such innovative technologies in his work he still finds he turns to the ‘tradition methods of making and interpretation, to provide a real way to enable the powerful subtlety of these approaches to embrace, navigate and form with the complexity of new process’. Through the microscopic, he looks at how shape and form at a miniscule level can affect the macroscopic for altering the properties a material has to dynamically texture or produce a disassociated tactile experience.

His work is one which uses new material technologies, particularly new innovations in sintering technology which allow for lasers to be used directly on materials or used on metallic powders to form metallic structures. Already recognized for the diversity of its potential, one technique he has pioneered, microkinetics, has recently been commercially used in a medical context as a patented soft tissue replacement for those with osteoporosis. It is based on his research at Imperial College London and made possible through a Confidence in Concept award at the Royal Marsden and Institute of Cancer Research Funds. Microkinetics is one strand of his work, a diverse range of materials capable of changing their physical property. Other works use complex material engineering to create surfaces constructed from hundreds of thousands of individual fibres to create a bespoke service for each user. It can be responsive to touch for example or to the impact of pressure meaning that each audience has an individual observation of the work. His most current and un-exhibited work uses pioneering research into sintered metals and microarchitecture to produce materials which are ultra light and yet capable of incredible strength. Incredibly, his medical background has informed this technique so it is not just applicable for external use, but has the potential of osseointegration, making them capable of use inside the human body. He wants to inform the general public by showcasing these innovations, raising their profile and increasing interest to generate further research and application, for both practical and design aims.