3D Printed and Intestine Inspired #WearableWednesday


Not everyone finds intestines attractive, but Neri Oxman at MIT definitely finds them interesting, according to New Scientist. Her work is in future wearables and she believes that we’ll want our clothing to produce consumables or possibly give off scents. Sounds like a living organism, right? Well, Neri hopes that one day her 3D printed design will hold multiple forms of bacteria. Here’s the big why for this fashion.

Oxman and her team crammed in more than 58 metres’ worth of channels that could house live bacteria in the future. These would be synthetically engineered to carry out special functions. Cyanobacteria, for example, could be used to photosynthesize and produce large amounts of sucrose or sugar. This might then be consumed by E.coli engineered to secrete fluorescent proteins.

I can’t help but think of the Stillsuits in Dune. These were practical suits that would basically reclaim moisture and process body waste. Doesn’t that seem smart for any space traveler? I feel like Neri is definitely onto something here.


The colored plastics involved with the 3D printing work with the intention of the system as well. Clear allows for light to pass through, while the red color is more protected, offering different conditions for different types of bacteria.

This entire concept may seem quite strange, but it is really just another day in the life for someone in Neri’s Mediated Matter design research group.

Her group explores how digital design and fabrication technologies mediate between matter and environment to radically transform the design and construction of objects, buildings, and systems. Her goal is to enhance the relationship between the built and the natural environments by employing design principles inspired by nature and implementing them in the invention of novel digital design technologies.

As our planet continues to change, more and more emphasis is being placed on biomimicry. Plants and animals have mechanisms that still need to be understood, as they may hold the secrets to problems faced by humans. It’s almost like we are racing against time to figure this stuff out. Luckily there are people dedicated to research in this area, and people who love 3D printing. Do you have interesting ideas for suits or architectural solutions? Take some time to check out our Desktop 3D Printer Buying Guide. You can get some helpful comparisons on our different printers so you can start prototyping your own designs. There’s nothing like bringing your own creation to life.


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