Professor Neri Oxman
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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.”
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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.