Design researcher
and prototyper

Leveraging wood warping when exposed to moisture to create devices that seamlessly synchronise with the environment at non-human timescales

︎ Materials: Wood veneer,  Moisture
︎ Tools: Rhino, Fusion360
︎ Process: 4D materials, materail exploration, biocrafting


Hygromech dives deep into the potential of hygromorphic actuation, and wood warping when exposed to moisture. It harnesses the power of biomechanics to create devices that seamlessly synchronize with the environment.

Understanding wood’s behaviour as a smart material allows designers and engineers to create interventions at non-human timescales. From rewilding initiatives to environmental control, our research opens doors to a future where design harmoniously coexists with the natural world.


Using an EXP, or experimental methodology, a series of planned out tests were devised and executed, culminating in new insights that inspired fresh rounds of experimentation.

These encompassed understanding the behaviour of wood as a smart material, unearthing novel mechanical forms and functions, and speculative exploration of forward locomotion.


Non-human timescales are essential for moving from the anthropocene to the symbiocene. Our inability to see and act beyond the short term has meant that we have put the longterm at a point of crisis. Having materials and tools that are smart, self-sustaining and passively powered are perfect for non-human timescale applications as they respond for long-term impact consistently. Key criteria were established as: a need for self-sustaining with little energy, variable exposure to humidity and moisture, aesthetic opportunities.

Final outputs encompass a component library that facilitates the adoption of hygromorphic actuation for designers and engineers, a passive soil rehabilitation device, responsive ventilation in architecture, and smart analog agriculture.

Copyright to Will Eliot