Biologic (Self-Transforming Biological Skin) by Helene Steiner
2015 - 2016, Platinum A' Textile, Fabric, Textures, Patterns and Cloth Design Award Winner
Inspiration
A millennium ago, a Japanese samurai's quest into battle took an unexpected turn. What was found on his journey was a previously undiscovered bacteria, Bacillus Subtilis Natto. Ever since this coincidental unearthing, the mysterious bacteria has become an established fermentation tool in Japan. A thousand years later, we unearthed a new behavior of this ancient bacteria: the expansion and contraction of the Natto cells relative to atmospheric moisture.
Creativity
In a bio lab, the team discovered that microscopic humidity-sensitive bacteria can be harvested and used as nanosensors and nanoactuators. Such mechanisms are applied to fabric using custom-made micro-resolution printing technology. This synthetic breathing skin is activated by perspiration and body heat. The bio-actuated material inspired the team to create a working garment to showcase the technology.
Design Challenges
We are Imagining a world where actuators and sensors can be grown rather than manufactured, being derived from nature as opposed to engineered in factories. bioLogic seeks a harmonious perspective, where biological and engineering approaches flow in sync. Upscaling from a micro-scale structure like a singular cell to the first transforming biological skin that can be worn and tested by a dancer was the biggest challenge. This project represented a significant scientific, engineering and design challenge.
Production Technology
In a bio lab, we discovered that humidity-sensitive bacteria can be harvested as nanosensors and actuators. These mechanisms are applied to fabric using custom-made micro-resolution printing technology. This synthetic breathing skin is activated by perspiration and body heat. Based on the wearer's sweat and heat maps, tiny vents on the fabric transform the garment by curling open or closed. The pattern for the garment was created based on heat- and sweat- maps, using bespoke design simulation.
       
     
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