Researchers have debuted a workout suit printed with active microbial cells that is safe, hi-tech, and unlike any gym gear you’ve probably seen.
A group of 15 MIT scientists combined their expertise in areas ranging from fashion design to biological engineering in a project named “bioLogic.” The result is a “biohybrid wearable,” a functional workout suit covered in living cells that can wick away moisture and cool athletes during exercise. Details of the new garment were published in the journal Science Advances.
The project has been three years in the making, and was created by MIT Media Lab’s Tangible Media Group, led by Professor Hiroshi Ishii.
“We love things that are responsive,” said Lining Yao, co-lead author of the paper and a Ph.D candidate at the Tangible Media Group. The group, Yao said, aims to create genetically modifiable and responsive sensors out of microbial cells.
Microbial cells are hygroscopic, meaning they absorb moisture and humidity. While the cells are small in dry conditions, as they absorb moisture they begin to swell and change shape. It’s an amazing property, said the researchers, with many implications.
“We are generating motion without using electricity or energy-consuming power,” Yao said.