Wanderers is a collaborative project between Neri Oxman (and the team at the Mediated Matter Group at MIT Media Lab), Christoph Bader & Dominik Kolb (Deskriptiv) to create four digitally grown and 3d printed wearables that could embed living matter.
The teams are working on a computational growth process which is capable of producing a wide variety of growing structures. Inspired by natural growth behaviour, the computational process creates shapes that adapt to their environment. Starting with a seed, the process simulates growth by continuously expanding and refining its shape. The wearables are designed to interact with a specific environment characteristic of their destination and generate sufficient quantities of biomass, water, air and light necessary for sustaining life: some photosynthesize converting daylight into energy, others bio-mineralize to strengthen and augment human bone, and some fluoresce to light the way in pitch darkness.
This includes building a syringe pump fabricated using 3D printing that consists of micro millifluidics with complex 3D geometries. These were fabricated in collaboration with Dr. David Sun Kong (MIT Lincoln Laboratory), Alec Nielsen (MIT Synthetic Biology Center), CheWei Taylor (MIT Media Lab) and Taylor Levy (MIT Media Lab). Another prototype device is a functional Multimaterial fluidic valve. The channels in the valve could be used to control cellular function. For example, the opacity of the channel wall could be varied to change the light radiance experienced by photosynthetic organisms inside the channel. This work was completed by Steven Keating, Maria Isabella Gariboldi, Will Patrick and Neri in collaboration with Dr. David Sun Kong (MIT Lincoln Laboratory). In other experiments a functional singlematerial 3D printed valve was designed to route liquids, such as a culture of synthetic organisms. Finally a petri dish containing E.coli, engineered to produce green fluorescent protein. Microorganisms, such as bacteria and yeast, have been engineered by scientists to fluoresce, bioilluminate, produce pigments, convert light into fuel, and do many other functions. All of these were created with aim to use in wearable products.
Qamar, Zuhal, Mushtari and Otaared wearable prototypes have been produced on the Stratasys’ Objet500 Connex3 Color Multi-Material printer and are currently exhibited at the EuroMold 2014 event in Frankfurt, Germany, until 28 November. For the first time 3d printing was used to achieve volumetric colour and transparency gradients.