Living Mushtari is a wearable ‘microbial factory’ created by the Mediated Matter group: Neri Oxman (principal investigator), Will Patrick (project lead), Steven Keating, and Sunanda Sharma; Stratasys; Christoph Bader and Dominik Kolb; Prof. Pamela Silver and Stephanie Hays (Harvard Medical School); and Dr. James Weaver. It houses symbiotic microorganisms: photosynthetic microbes and compatible microbes. The photosynthetic microbe converts light to sucrose, and then the compatible microbe consumes the sucrose and converts it into what the team projects could be any number of things: pigments, drugs, food, fuel, etc.. The wearable is constructed from one tube that varies in diameter from 1mm to 2.5 cm and is wound around itself and the wearer in a way that is supposed to mimic biological growth. The tube was 3D printed with a liquid support that was then removed from the tube to be replaced by a liquid containing the symbiotic microbes. This injection process, and the more general concept of creating manipulable micro-ecologies, is extremely interesting to me, and the reason behind my choosing this project. It seems as though the wearer’s measurements would be one of the first inputs, but I am not sure how the code produces the variation of forms generated. I am curious about the way that this bio-mimicry is occurring, and what is really being mimicked. Do the microbes do better or worse in different formal conditions (the different fold and bends, the diameters of the channel)? Or is their success solely based on the transparency of the wearable? Mushtari seems very well documented aesthetically but I would appreciate further transparency about the functionality of the parametricized form.
see the project here.