Neri Oxman and her Mediated Matter Group at MIT have expanded their collection of 3D-printed death masks with designs that cultivate new life after death.
The third and final collection in the Vespers series of death masks sees the Mediated Matter Group explore the concept of rebirth, with a collection of five, almost colourless 3D-printed masks that function as “biological urns”.
The urns are inhabited by living microorganisms that have been synthetically engineered by Oxman’s team to produce pigments and/or useful chemical substances for human augmentation, such as vitamins, antibodies or antimicrobial drugs.
The team said that the research is leading toward a future where wearable interfaces and building skins are customised not only to fit a particular shape, but also a specific material, chemical and even genetic make-up.
Oxman, an American-Israeli designer and professor, leads the Mediated Matter Group as part of the MIT Media Lab.
Their previous 3D-printing research projects include 3D-printed “wearable skins” designed to facilitate synthetic biological processes, and investigations into how to use silkworms to print architectural structures.