Self-Transforming Biological Skin
A millennium ago, a Japanese samurai's quest into battle took an unexpected turn. What was found on his journey was a previously undiscovered bacteria, Bacillus Subtilis Natto. Ever since this coincidental unearthing, the mysterious bacteria has become an established fermentation tool in Japan.
A thousand years later, we unearthed a new behavior of this ancient bacteria: the expansion and contraction of the Natto cells relative to atmospheric moisture.
UNIQUE PROPERTIES / PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
In a bio lab, the team discovered that microscopic humidity-sensitive bacteria can be harvested and used as nanosensors and nanoactuators. Such mechanisms are applied to fabric using custom-made micro-resolution printing technology. This synthetic breathing skin is activated by perspiration and body heat. The bio-actuated material inspired the team to create a working garment to showcase the technology.
OPERATION / FLOW / INTERACTION:
The synthetic bio-skin reacts to body heat and sweat, causing flaps around heat zones to open, enabling sweat to evaporate and cool down the body through an organic material flux.
PROJECT DURATION AND LOCATION:
The project started in summer 2014 and finished in October 2015, MIT Media Lab, Cambridge, MA, USA
FITS BEST INTO CATEGORY:
Fashion, Apparel and Garment Design
PRODUCTION / REALIZATION TECHNOLOGY:
In a bio lab, we discovered that humidity-sensitive bacteria can be harvested as nanosensors and actuators. These mechanisms are applied to fabric using custom-made micro-resolution printing technology. This synthetic breathing skin is activated by perspiration and body heat. Based on the wearer's sweat and heat maps, tiny vents on the fabric transform the garment by curling open or closed. The pattern for the garment was created based on heat- and sweat- maps, using bespoke design simulation.
SPECIFICATIONS / TECHNICAL PROPERTIES:
Height 100 cm x Length 50 cm x Thickness 0.5 cm
Biological Interface, self-transforming biological skin, living bacteria, sportswear, garment
Nature has engineered its own actuators, as well as the efficient material compositions, geometries and structures needed to utilize its actuators and achieve functional transformations. Inspired by these transformations, we ( working from a bio-lab at MIT ) studied the mechanical properties of Natto cells and their reaction to body temperature and humidity change. In collaboration with New Balance, we studied human heat- and sweat- maps to create a biological garment that reacts in symbiosis with the human body and its needs.
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. bioLogic seeks a harmonious perspective, where biological and engineering approaches flow in sync. Upscaling from a micro-scale structure like a singular cell to the first transforming biological skin that can be worn and tested by a dancer was the biggest challenge. This project represented a significant scientific, engineering and design challenge.
TEAM MEMBERS (8) :
Lining Yao, , Wen Wang, , Guanyun Wang, , Helene Steiner,, Jifei Ou, , Chin-Yi Cheng, , Oksana Anilionyte and Hiroshi Ishii
Image #1 : Rob Chron / bioLogic, 2015, Image #2 : Rob Chron / bioLogic, 2015, Image #3 : Rob Chron / bioLogic, 2015, Image #4 : Rob Chron / bioLogic, 2015,
Video Credits: Zach Both, bioLogic, 2015
Pending Patent No. 14927375, 2015, Lining Yao, Wen Wang, Jifei Ou, Chin-Yi Cheng, Guanyun Wang, Hiroshi Ishii, Daniel Wang, Helene Steiner, Clark Della Silva