Since the discovery of a tiny microorganism that lives inside dry rice stalks, the bacteria has been woven into soybean bags and has been used to ferment and prepare nattō, a soybean-based dish in Japan. Its called Bacillus Subtilis natto and the researchers working with it now could change textiles forever.
Here and now, a team at MIT bioLogic has found a new behavior of this ancient bacteria. Through a natural phenomenon called hygromorphic transformation, its cells expand and contract relative to atmospheric moisture.
Using this microbiology the team is attempting to program living organisms to create a new type of performance fabric that combines biomaterials research with textile design; “bio is the new interface” they say, as the team embeds the bacteria into fabric to ventilate garments.
Together with New Balance, the research team is applying this technology to create sportswear that regulates athletes’ body temperatures, which could enhance performance. The living cells can be controlled by electrical signals and communicate with the virtual world as well. This garment will understand when you sweat because of the cells and their reactions to wetness.
The fabric will sense and open up to release your sweat, and close up to keep you warm again.
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. They make the cells in a bio lab and assemble them through a bio-printing system they developed. This transforms the cells into responsive fashion or a “second skin”.
Welcome to the future………..