Research Critique: Biometrics

Neri Oxman and a group from the MIT mediated matter group recently collaborated with Christoph Bader and Dominik Kolb on a project known as ‘Wanderers: Wearables for Interplanetary Pilgrims’. With the intention of sustaining life through voyages beyond our planet,  the wearables are created to hold life sustaining elements contained within 3D printed vascular structures with internal cavities. It makes use of a technology that produces digitally manufactured wearables with multi-material 3D printing machinery.

3D printed vascular structures with internal cavities

 According to the mediated matter group, they’ve found a way to embed ‘living matter in the form of engineered bacteria within the 3D structures in order to augment the environment. living matter within these structures will ultimately transform oxygen for breathing, photons for seeing, biomass for eating, biofuels for moving and calcium for building.’

The internal cavities are infused with synthetically engineered microorganisms to make the hostile habitable and the deadly alive. Inspired by natural growth behaviour, starting as seeds, the biomimicry process of the technology simulates growth by continuously expanding and adapting its shape to the environment. The wearable is capable of generating the basic elements needed for survival through elements that photosynthesise, bio-mineralise to strengthen human bone or contain florescence to provide light in dark places.

Skip to 1:04 to watch how the growth process works

multi-material fluidic valve 3D printed using the connex 500 stratasys 3D printer

3D printed fluidics and a syringe pump. mediated matter

I found this wearable to be very fascinating due to its potential for the future, in fact, it already sounds almost straight out of science fiction itself. Yet, I do have my doubts when it comes to the idea of holding all these bacteria that can be potentially deadly, on my body. If one of the cavities breaks, it could threaten my life rather than prolong it. The form of the wearable does not seem very pragmatic either for travel so I do hope the design can be improved in this aspect.

The wearables were produced on an ‘objet500 connex3 color multi-material 3D production system’


Research Critique: Costume & Textile

Japanese techno-pop unit Perfume’s interactive dress worn during their “Spending All My Time” performance at Cannes in 2013 was a result of their collaboration with Japan’s techno-artist Daito Manabe. Manabe is a programmer whose work fuses advanced technology and artistic creativity. The concept behind many of Perfume’s performances involve mimicking androids, thus the digital patterns projected on the dress complement their performance.

Motion capturing technology on Perfume’s dresses

For this particular performance, Perfume used twitter to connect with its fans and then through open source technology, fans were able to download 3D data of the females and simple drawing programmes to create their own unique graphics.

Fans submit different graphics to be projected onto the dresses

They were invited to submit their own digital graphics which were then projected onto the dresses in sync with the rhythm of the music through motion capturing and project mapping technology, creating a fine example where technology invites the audience to be part of the performance.

Behind the scenes

“During the performance, a dynamic projection mapping system cast visuals onto the semi-translucent screens in front of the singers; motion capture allowed the position of the projections to be calibrated automatically moment by moment. The cameras filming the performance were also watched by a motion capture system, each outfitted with a marker allowing the system to track the camera’s position and orientation in space. This, Manabe says, was key for morphing seamlessly between perspectives, an effect conjured by Rhizomatiks computer vision wizard Yuya Hanai. The final video moves seamlessly between the live footage and the 3D model captured ahead of time.” – WIRED

Project mapping revealed at the exhibit “Rhizomatiks Inspired by Perfume”

Personally, aside from the fact that the performance was amazing and seemed so ahead of its time, I find this integration of technology and performance very fascinating. By blending advanced technology with pop music performances, technology does not feel out of place but rather complements and adds value to the experience to create one their is multi-sensory and highly engaging. The combination of both art and technology is full of potential and I look forward to more of such.