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Helene Steiner

MA work

DECOD: Re-connect with Nature

DECOD is a new open-source hardware and software platform driven by nature to re-connect and re-experience our environment. Its mission is to empower a new generation of biodevelopers with an affordable tool that focuses on biological processes and their roots, in order to hold artificial and natural worlds in balance.

DECOD takes advantage of the sensitive reaction of plants to external and environmental factors and is able to capture and translate these signals. The software and hardware is easy to use, making it accessible even for children. Simply connect with trees and choose the signal and output your are looking for, allowing you to explore nature in your own way, to build your own inventions, to help communities, create the future of agriculture, or to explore your own garden.

Inspired by the maker movement, DECOD emphasises learning-by-doing for a social movement. Get part of the movement and help build a library of bio-signals, and a better understanding of our environment for a healthy future of biotechnology.


  • MA Degree


    School of Design


    MA Innovation Design Engineering, 2015

  • Helene Steiner is an award winning designer and researcher based in London. Her background is in Product Design with a MDes from the Bauhaus University in Weimar. During her studies in Germany her focus was on human behavior and interactions to create new products for specific contexts and needs. Furthermore she studied under FROG founder Prof. Hartmut Esslinger to explore the opportunities of extending our bodies with technology and prosthetics. She currently finished her MA and MSc with distinction in Innovation Design Engineering at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College in London to focus on her current research on better embedded technologies and interactions in our environment for the delivery of contextualized information. Additionally she is collaborating with the Tangible Media Group at MIT Media Lab since she was a visiting researcher with a focus on biological interfaces.
  • Degrees

  • Diploma in Product Design, Bauhaus University Weimar,
  • Experience

  • Internship, CuldeSac, Valencia, 2011; Visting researcher, MIT Media Lab, Cambridge, 2014
  • Exhibitions

  • GKWA 2009-2099, Galery E105, Bonn, 2008; Born since 68, Junge Kunst aus dem Raum St. Pölten, Austria, 2008 ; GKWA 2009-2099, Weimar, 2009; DMY Berlin, Berlin, 2009; Kitchen Ecology, Dwell, Los Angeles, 2009; DMY, Bauhaus Archiv, Berlin, 2009; Blickfang, Vienna, 2009; Essence, Künstlerhaus, Vienna, 2010; DMY Berlin, 2010; What WE did, Weimar, 2010; Designersblock, OXO Tower, London, 2010; Blickfang, Vienna, 2010; Designersblock, Milan Design Week, Milan, 2011; Design Linz, Designcenter, Linz, 2011; London Design Festival, Tent, London, 2011; Made 4 You: Design for change, MAK, Vienna, 2012; Canes and Human, Stilwerk, Vienna, 2012; Fin, Weimar, 2013; Walk of Fame, Stateprice of Design, Vienna, 2013; Work in Progress Show, Royal College of Art, London, 2014; Sport Innovation Challenge for Sochi, Imperial College, London, 2014; MAK Design Labor, 150 years of Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna, 2014; GoGlobal Israel-Palestine Exhibition, Peres Center of Peace, Tel Aviv, 2014; Designers Satursday, Langenthal, Switzerland, 2014
  • Awards

  • Bösendorfer Design Award, 2006; Winner Souvenier Competition Award, 2007; Top 10 DMY Jury Selection Award, 2009; Blickfang Student Award, 2009–10; Youngsters of Arts Award, 2010; Blickfang Designprice Award, 2010; Austrian State Price for Design Award, 2013; Grafe-Kreativpreis Award, 2013; German Design Award, 2014; CHI Honorable Mention Award, 2015
  • Conferences

  • Helene Steiner, Lining Yao, Hiroshi Ishii, et al, 'bioLogic: Natto Cells as Nanoactuators for Shape Changing Interfaces at the MIT Media Lab', CHI 2015, Seoul, South Korea, 18–23 April 2015
  • Publications

  • Helene Steiner, Lining Yao, Hiroshi Ishii, et al, bioLogic: Natto Cells as Nanoactuators for Shape Changing Interfaces, CHI 2015