Skin body adornments made with textiles produced by bacteria #WearableWednesday
Cool or gross? Would you wear textiles produced by bacteria? Via Dezeen.
Sammy Jobbins Wells’ Skin project involved growing bacterially produced cellulose, started with a culture from a kombucha mushroom that she bought from an internet retailer.
“Acetobacter bacteria spins cellulose – a by product – as it consumes glucose, the reasons for which are unclear but it is thought the material might protect the bacteria colony from external contamination,” Jobbins Wells told Dezeen.
The result is a flexible organic material that contracts and hardens around a physical form as it dries, mimicking skin stretched over bone.
“When wet, the cellulose is incredibly flexible and tensile and it is incredibly difficult to pull material with a thickness of more than two millimetres apart,” said Jobbins Wells.
“When dry, the material maintains a large degree of its strength but has a strange, leathery feel, almost like old human skin.”
To create the material, the bacteria requires specific conditions. A solution of glucose and tea is mixed with water and kept at room temperature for optimum growth.
The tea provides added nutrients for the bacteria and also gives colour to the end material.
“I discovered that regular, white Japanese Sencha tea allowed for the greatest transparency seen in the structure,” said Jobbins Wells.
Starting with a small jar, the designer harvested and transferred larger and larger cultures over a few months until she had sheets of material grown in a reptile terrarium – enough to create the wearable objects.
Jobbins Wells used the Delaunay triangulation algorithm to create the shapes of the laser-cut balsa wood frames, using the Grasshopper plug-in for 3D modelling software Rhino.
“I wanted people to see that this structure had distinctly a digital, rather than an organic, beginning both in its design and generation,” she said.
Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.