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Neri Oxman's Bacteria-Infested Spacesuits Are Grown, Not Designed

Sure, spacesuits are cool, but the biology simulations used to design them are even cooler.

Images via, GIFs by Beckett Mufson

In the wake of major milestones such as the successful Rosetta Mission landing and NASA's first object 3D printed in space, we at The Creators Project are getting a serious case of space travel fever. Last week, MIT professor Neri Oxman's line of innovative spacesuit concepts stoked that fire by suggesting that 3D-printed, organic-looking vessels housing proactive bacteria would make sustainable space travel possible through converting hostile environments into the air or food we need to survive. Descriptiv—aka designers Christoph Bader and Dominik Kolb—helped generate Oxman's biologically-inspired structures, and it turns out that the design process is just as fascinating as the final product.


"We designed a computational growth process which is capable of producing a wide variety of growing structures," Kolb told The Creators Project. "Starting with a seed, the process simulates growth by continously expanding and refining its shape." This means that each wearable design started as a single cell, which was grown, through lifelike algorithms, into an organic-looking model. The duo worked with Oxman to construct a range of potential space suits, which they eventually  tweaked and narrowed down to the four designs published last week.

Emulating cells, veins, and intestines, the algorithmic models provide textures that look like reasonable places for oxygen-producing algae to grow, and the suits' asymmetry makes them look like they actually grew right onto their hosts bodies. The mesmerizing generation process the duo designed for these living structures makes us wonder how they ever got to the actual clothing design process—we've been watching the demo on loop for 45 minutes. Check out the video, as well as the group's concept designs, below.

Photographed by Yoram Reshef, Courtesy of Neri Oxman

Photographed by Yoram Reshef, Courtesy of Neri Oxman

Photographed by Yoram Reshef, Courtesy of Neri Oxman

Photographed by Yoram Reshef, Courtesy of Neri Oxman

Visit Descriptiv's website to see more of their generative projects.


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