Grown, Printed, and Biologically Augmented: An Additively Manufactured Microfluidic Wearable

Christoph Bader, William G. Patrick, Dominik Kolb, Stephanie G. Hays, Steven Keating, Sunanda Sharma, Daniel Dikovsky, Boris Belocon, James C. Weaver, Pamela A. Silver, Neri Oxman


Despite significant advances in synthetic biology at industrial scales, digital fabrication challenges have, to date, precluded its implementation at the product scale. We present, Mushtari, a multimaterial 3D printed fluidic wearable designed to culture microbial communities. Thereby we introduce a computational design environment for additive manufacturing of geometrically complex and materially heterogeneous fluidic channels. We demonstrate how controlled variation of geometrical and optical properties at high spatial resolution can be achieved through a combination of computational growth modeling and multimaterial bitmap printing. Furthermore, we present the implementation, characterization, and evaluation of support methods for creating product-scale fluidics. Finally, we explore the cytotoxicity of 3D printed materials in culture studies with the model microorganisms, Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis. The results point toward design possibilities that lie at the intersection of computational design, additive manufacturing, and synthetic biology, with the ultimate goal of imparting biological functionality to 3D printed products.

Related Content