20 Nov MIT making Bio-tech cool
The team at bioLogic are building… NO… I mean “growing” some genius solutions that can be highly responsive to our human needs. We are talking about a bio-technology in which our actuators and sensors can be grown as a responsive living interface system – the applications of such a technology are truly staggering.
As of now, a synthetic skin equipped with biological bacterial sensors is in development that reacts to the heat levels of the body – providing optimal cooling and warmth as needed. Another fascinating production that was developed, was a lampshade that changes form in accordance with the heat provided from the lamp.
But the implications are only beginning to unfold for bacillus subtilis.
Bacillus Subtilis Natto: the bacteria making scientific breakthroughs
The bacteria that promises to be humankind’s technological ally in the near future is actually an old friend we have known for over a millennium now. Although, up until now their benefits were being reaped in the field of culinary arts.
The story begins a thousand years ago, when a brave Samurai and his cohorts were assaulted by his foe during the preparation of an evening meal. The soybeans being boiled were neglected by the soldiers scrambling to meet the enemy and days later when they returned from rebuffing the marauders, the soybeans had gone bad.
They decided to eat it anyway – and what they discovered was something too small to be seen with the naked eye, the bacteria known as bacillus subtilis natto. A microorganism that exists in the rice stalks that had been woven into sacks carrying soybeans.
The tradition of eating Natto has been popular in Japan ever since.
The Future of Bacillus Subtilis
A thousand years later the benevolent bacteria is still with us and only now are we becoming aware of other characteristics the organism can provide to the human race. Natto cells have been observed to expand and contract in accordance with variations in the immediate atmospheric temperature
Fascinated by the potential of this phenomenon, the bioLogic team has begun their quest into redefining actuation. Combining both engineers and biologists, the team hopes to pave the future of human design using this new found miracle.
By harvesting this bacteria in a cutting edge facility, the bioLogic team has developed the method of micro-resolution bioprinting, the microorganisms can be arranged into a responsive fashion.
In the case of the “Second Skin” project the organisms are introduced into the fabric at strategic locations to allow for the transfer of heat after a predetermined temperature has been reached and then closed to conserve heat at a lower register.
This “bioSuit” actually contains functions activated by living actuators. This allows the user to enjoy a regulated level of warmth when feeling cold and sufficient ventilation should their body temperature rise.
New Balance, the sporting goods giant, is collaborating with bioLogic on this project that will promises to transform this concept from science fiction into a reality that athletes and sports enthusiasts will enjoy in near future.
And this only scratches the surface of the plethora of human amenities, industries and commodities that could benefit from this striking innovation.