While humanity has been making clothing from natural materials since before recorded history – leather, fur, linen, cotton, wool and silk,; none of those fabrics are alive once they are fashioned into a garment.
That’s about to change however, because researchers with the MIT Media Lab have developed fabric that has incorporated living bacteria into the man-made fabric. This new synthetic fabric will respond to the moisture of the body.
This new “Second Skin” fabric makes use of approximately a trillion single-cell organisms that are printed into every garment. The fabric features dozens of tiny, triangular flap-type openings. The bacteria, responding to moisture that the body produces react with incredible speed when the body heats up. The expansion of the bacteria opens the flaps to release the excess body heat. According to Lining Yao, a PhD student who leads bioLogic, the biohybrid materials project in the Tangible Media Group, a garment made with this fabric has a kind of HVAC system built right in.
The MIT research team is supported by athletic wear company, New Balance and in teaming with fashion designers at London’s Royal College of Art, designed full-body style garments that look a little like Star Trek uniforms.
The project is still in development. The next step for this Second Skin fabric is to make it so that the bacteria can withstand the laundering process.
Fabric, whether it is made of synthetic or natural materials, can do amazing things. Using the right draping methods and skillful folding or even sewing, a person can be clothed – or an entire room can be dramatically draped, creating a lasting effect on those who see it.
Geri Simms at Atlanta Wedding Décor has been using fabric to dramatic effect for decades and can help you plan your wedding, reception or special event. Geri specializes in wedding and event drapery that can turn an ordinary room into something to remember. Contact Geri today to schedule an appointment to discuss your plans.