The future of sportswear could look very different, thanks to scientists at MIT’s Tangible Media Group.
‘Bio-Skin’, the team’s latest project, describes the creation of an organic material that is said to respond to body heat and perspiration. But instead of being engineered in a factory, the material has been grown in a lab.
To produce the innovative fabric, the team, led by Hiroshi Ishii and Lining Yao, used natto cells (traditionally found in a soybean-based breakfast dish in Japan), which have been harvested in a bio lab and transformed into sportswear – made out of the humidity responsive bacteria.
When the garments are worn they form a ‘second skin’ that is able to react to body heat and sweat, causing little flaps around heat zones to open up, which in turn enables the sweat to evaporate and the body to cool down.
Oksana Anilionyte, Fashion Design MIT Lab/Royal College of Art, said of the project: “In this time fashion is changing and this project is a part of it. I believe it’s time to rethink the way we create fashion and the reason behind it.
“The Biologic project enables us to explore new innovative materials combined with traditional garment making techniques and the experience of wearing these garments is very special because they come to life once you start wearing them.”
The team, who hope that their collaboration with New Balance will bring what once lived in the realm of fantasy, into the world of sportswear, also plan on trialling different printing patterns and material combinations that will enable them to create more complex transformations such as material colour change.
Is this a sneak peek at the future of everyday sportswear?