Mushtari: A 3D Printed Wearable Skin from MIT Mediated Matter in collaboration with Stratasys

Image Posted on Updated on


Mushtari: A 3D Printed Wearable Skin from MIT Mediated Matter in collaboration with Stratasys


Professor Neri Oxman of MIT Media Lab revealed a 3D printed wearable at TED2015 in May 2015 in Vancouver.  The wearable is designed to host living matter and was called Mushtari, meaning giant.  Mushtari was 3D printed using a color multi-material 3D Printer developed by Stratasys. This is the world’s first wearable that combines multi-material additive manufacturing and synthetic biology.

photosynthesis to convert sunlight to sugar.  The compatible microbes consume the sugar to

Mushtari is based on synthetic biology.  It uses a symbiotic relationship between a photosynthetic microbe and compatible microbes.  The photosynthetic microbes use generate substances useful for the wearer such as pigments, food, fuel and scents. In future, the wearer could trigger the production of these substances.


According to Neri Oxman, “This is the first time that 3D printing technology has been used to produce a photosynthetic wearable piece with hollow internal channels designed to house microorganisms. Inspired by the human gastrointestinal tract, Mushtari hosts synthetic microorganisms, a co-culture of photosynthetic cyanobacteria and E. coli bacteria that can fluoresce bright colors in darkness and produce sugar or biofuels when exposed to the sun. Such functions will in the near future augment the wearer by scanning our skins, repairing damaged tissue and sustaining our bodies, an experiment that has never been attempted before.”


3D Printing Materials: Glass

Image Posted on Updated on

3D Printing Materials: Glass


3D printing using glass is difficult because of the high temperatures required to melt the material used for 3D printing. Technologies for 3D printing using glass exist so far mainly in research labs and Universities.  Some of these efforts are described below.

In 2009, researchers at Solheim Rapid Manufacturing Laboratory of University of Washington developed a process called Vitraglyphic.  In this process powdered glass is mixed with an adhesive materials and loaded into a 3D printer.  A binder is deposited into the powdered mixture and used for 3D printing shapes.  These shapes were put in a kiln so that the layers of glass fuse and create a solid glass object.  The team used similar procedure to 3D print ceramics objects.

In another effort, researchers led by Professor Neri Oxman of MIT’s Mediated Matter Group developed a 3D printer that extrudes molten glass.  The 3D printer maintains a nozzle through which the glass is extruded at temperatures of about 1,900 degrees Fahrenheit. This is significantly higher than the temperatures used for other 3D printing, for example, plastic.

An Israel based company Micron3DP has also announced that they have developed an extruder that can 3D print using molten glass at temperatures as high as 1640 degrees celsius.




Multi-material 3D Printing using OpenFab from MIT

Image Posted on Updated on

Multi-material 3D Printing using OpenFab from MIT


Current 3D printers typically use a single material at a time.  Multi-material 3D printers combine different materials in one object and can create complex objects with different properties in different parts of the object.   MIT has designed an OpenFab programmable pipeline for 3D printing multi-material objects.  The pipeline uses programs called fablets that define the material content of an object to be 3D printed.

The input to the pipeline is a description of the objects being 3D printed.  Different stages of the pipeline perform different processing of the objects.  The objects are represented as several small micro-polygons.  A surface phase determines the attributes of these micro-polygons, for example, texture.  The objects are divided into small volume elements. A volume phase assigns material mixtures to the volume elements.  Thus, by dividing the surface and volume into a large number of small pieces, different materials can be used and different properties specified for different parts of the objects.

This picture shows three rhino printed using OpenFab (  Each rhino has the same geometry but is made of different materials. rhino

MIT Develops Platform for 3D Printing Glass

Image Posted on Updated on

MIT Develops Platform for 3D Printing Glass


Mediated Matter Group of MITs’ Media Lab in collaboration with MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and MIT’s Glass Lab has developed an additive manufacturing platform called G3DP for printing transparent glass structures.  The G3DP platform uses two chambers, an upper chamber and a lower chamber.  The upper chamber is heated to a temperature of 1900°F to produce molten glass.  The lower chamber performs annealing by slowly cooling the molten glass.  The molten glass is funneled through a nozzle to 3D print fascinating glass structures.

According to Prof. Neri Oxman of the MIT Media Lab who directs the Mediated Matter research group, this research could lead to advances in creating fiber optic cables that transmit data more efficiently.