MIT introduces new wearable with biological functionality
A research group at MIT, Mediated Matter, has 3D-printed a unique wearable that will house synthetic microorganisms and harness energy from their biological activity.
Working with Stratasys, the cohort developed Mushtari and printed it on an Objet Connex3 colour and multi-material machine. The resulting product features 58m of internal channels to hold photosynthetic microbes, such as microalgae and compatible microbes like yeast or E coli, which will interact to generate materials such as fuel, food, pigments, and scents.
The process starts with the microalgae-type microbes converting sunlight into sucrose, which is then utilised by the compatible organisms to produce various substances. Another development would be for the wearer to be able to catalyse the microbes to generate a specific result.
The channels in the device were developed and defined through generative growth algorithms that simulate biological growth. Specific areas were then sectioned out to create the space for the photosynthetic microbes to receive sunlight. The researchers worked with Stratasys to develop a special liquid for the Connex3 that could be used to clear out the channels and 3D printing.