3D Grown Wearables #WearableWednesday


I had to look twice when I spotted this wearable from our friends at Make. It’s from a project called Wandererswhich introduces the idea of computationally grown 3D printed wearables. The project was a collaboration between  Neri Oxman of the MIT Media Lab and Christoph Bader & Dominik Kolb. Pictured above is Qamar, a piece that hits very close to home.

Inspired by one of the most luminous objects in the sky, this piece embodies the surface of the Moon. Akin to a wearable biodome, the exterior contains spatial spherical moon-shaped pods for algae-based air-purification and biofuel collection to produce and store oxygen.

Pieces were printed on the Objet500 Connex3 Color Multi-material 3D Production System. What you see is the finished piece, but like any living thing, it started as a small seed. Although it comes from an algorithm, it is given the opportunity to adapt to its environment. Check out the video which shows 15 variations.

The piece below is called Mushtari and like a super hero, it is specially equipped to handle Jupiter.

Arabic for huge or giant, it is designed to interact with Jupiter’s atmosphere. This tortuous piece is designed as a single meandering strand inspired by the human gastrointestinal tract. It is a wearable that will consume and digest biomass, absorb nutrients, generate energy in the form of sucrose or fuel and expel waste.


These wearables may seem rather abstract or futuristic, but they are the outcome of  generative design. This style of design focuses on the process more than the outcome, allowing for multiple solutions. It’s like a tool that can be used  many ways. Why the interest in space? NASA and other space agencies have a huge interest in creating suits that are smart, adaptive, flexible and energy efficient–much like the stillsuits in Dune. This work seems to be the beginning of that frontier.

Each piece intends to hold life sustaining elements contained within 3D printed vascular structures with internal cavities, made possible with the dimensional stability and high resolution accuracy of Stratasys’ technology. Living matter within these structures will ultimately transform oxygen for breathing, photons for seeing, biomass for eating, bio-fuels for moving and calcium for building.

This project reminds me of the experimental work using 3D printing and cells to make human tissue. It’s an interesting combination that may lead to ecosystems for our bodies, or at least, decent replacement parts. It all starts with a prototype, so you either need to belong to a hackerspace or get your own 3D printer. Might I suggest a LulzBot Taz 4? You won’t be able to make a wearable as large as MIT in one shot, but you can print pieces and join them together to get your idea across. It will be your new artistic open source friend.


Flora breadboard is Every Wednesday is Wearable Wednesday here at Adafruit! We’re bringing you the blinkiest, most fashionable, innovative, and useful wearables from around the web and in our own original projects featuring our wearable Arduino-compatible platform, FLORA. Be sure to post up your wearables projects in the forums or send us a link and you might be featured here on Wearable Wednesday!

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