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Your Future Couch Could Be Made of Living Cells

7 APR 2014

Leukemia_cellsAccording to this article by Mashable, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing “living materials” from biological particles that could be used in everyday items. This could lead to a number of fascinating possibilities, such as a shirt than can self-heal and grow back a sleeve that has been ripped off.

“‘We are trying to make living materials compared, so people could use them instead of the non-living materials that are popular today,’ Timothy Lu, associate professor at MIT, told Mashable. ‘We want to leverage the ability of biology. With things such as trees and bone are materials made without human intervention, we want to grow similar materials from the ground up.’

Lu believes this method would be more environmentally friendly and require less energy from robots building things in factories.

The researchers recently completed a proof of concept that was meant to be a first step towards the creation of ‘living materials’ or cell-based factories for materials.

‘We modified E. coli bacteria to form biofilms and engineered them to contain artificial genetic programs that allowed us to control the materials they made by adding external chemicals,’ Lu said. ‘By changing when and where we added these chemicals, we were able to create biofilms that formed different materials.'”

Click here to read the article in full.