Saturday, December 21, 2013

Protocell sneakers add life to the body

Protocells might be the first step towards products that behave just like other biological organisms. These are primitive cells that can be created in a lab and contain chemicals that react to environmental stimuli. Designer/researcher Shamees Aden collaborated with Martin Hanczyc to give rise to a sneaker made of such protocells.

The sneakers are grown in a lab, where different cells can intelligently be grown in different places for different material properties and behaviors. For instance, the sneaker contains cells that expand or contract based on the pressure on the sole, thus adjusting its shape dynamically while in use. Another unique aspect is that since such products are made of cell colonies and the cells will die over time, new cells with new properties can be added by submerging them in a special liquid containing the new protocells. Since such products can be self-healing and be given new colors, they may dramatically alter the way we shop for, maintain, and store our clothing.

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