Walking the line between science fiction and reality, artist, designer and MIT professor Neri Oxman, and the MIT Media Lab’s Mediated Matter group have unveiled the world’s first 3D printed biological wearable. Mushtari (Arabic for “giant”) is a glowing, photosynthetic belt made up of hollow internal channels designed to house microorganisms. In theory, this advance in design thinking and science technology could generate a plethora of natural and synthetic resources when exposed to sunlight.
Working with 3D printing company Stratasys, MIT has taken 3D printing wearables to the next level
Mushtari is inspired by the human gastrointestinal tract and was designed using a generative growth algorithm, mimicking the biological process. Mediated Matter and Professor Oxman aim to use Mushtari’s translucent form to create reactions of light sensitive microbes resulting in new materials and resources.
Mushtari was created in conjunction with 3D printing manufacturer Stratasys, MIT and Stratasys worked together to create liquid-filled hollow channels, 1mm and 2.5cm thick. Channels as such in 3D printed designs are normally filled with immovable gel.
While the scientific exploration on this prototype is ongoing and theoretical, Mushtari currently acts as a coalescence of natural biology, cutting edge design technology and breathtaking and dynamic light installation. While the implications of this forward-thinking invention are still largely unknown, Mediated Matter and the MIT Media Lab have created a lighted design full of intrigue and possibility, inspiring biologists, designers and technologists alike.