MIT’s workout gear that is equipped with bacteria has hit the news again according to the Washington Post. The bacteria allows vents to open and close based on the wearer’s level of sweat, much like pores on skin. The project bioLogic from MIT’s Tangible Media Group is an example of biofabrication, and it was recently detailed in Science Advances. Here’s the team’s description of the wearable tech.
bioLogic is growing living actuators and synthesizing responsive bio-skin in the era where bio is the new interface. We are Imagining a world where actuators and sensors can be grown rather than manufactured, being derived from nature as opposed to engineered in factories.
The garment is printed with a layer of Bacillus Subtilis natto cells, which happen to be the same bacteria used in the fermentation of a Japanese soybean dish. The reason this bacteria was chosen is because it is considered safe by the Food and Drug Administration and it seemed well suited for the moisture changing wearable. The team has used a similar technique to bring life to running shoes, only they’ve hacked E. coli cells to add luminescence. Imagine shoes reacting to warmth and moisture by opening and illuminating! The shoes are a proof of concept and they will be updated in the future with another type of bacteria. This continues to be an exciting development and I’ll leave you with a video of the most curious part of the process—the method used to print the bio films. Good ideas feed off of other good ideas, so keep learning and hacking!
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