Innovations That Matter

Biodesign sportswear | Photo source John T on Unsplash

New biodesign sportswear uses bacteria to enhance sports performance

Sport & Fitness

Sportswear brand collaborates with design lab to create designs that adapt to the biology of the wearer.

Puma in collaboration with MIT Design Lab carried out a project testing the uses of living materials in sportswear designs. Specifically focusing on bacteria, the project titled Adaptive Dynamics: Biodesign exhibited its results at Milan design week. The project features a total of four designs – the Breathing Shoe, the Carbon Eaters T-shirt, Deep Learning Insoles and Adaptive Packaging.

The Breathing Shoe is a self-adapting trainer. It uses bacteria to create a unique pattern of air passages for the wearer. The bacteria is embedded in cavities inside the material of the shoe. As the wearer is active, they generate heat. In response to the heat, the bacteria eat the material, forming air passages that are unique to each wearer. Another design featured at the exhibition is the Carbon Eaters T-shirt. The T-shirt enhances sports performance using colour-changing technology. A small button on the T-shirt contains organisms that can detect substances in the air. If the surrounding air quality will affect the wearer’s performance, the button will change colour as a result.

The collaborators also created Deep Learning insoles. The insole collects biological data to measure factors such as fatigue and wellbeing. It works by using bacteria in the insoles which respond to the long-term and short-term sweat chemicals of the wearer. Electronic circuits translate these changes into data and transmit it using micro-controllers. The fourth design in the project is Adaptive Packaging. It is made from a biologically programmable material. The material emits gasses in response to heat, causing it to inflate and therefore change shape. In addition to being adaptive, the packaging is also biodegradable.

Here at Springwise, we have previously published biodesign creations that use living materials to achieve innovative results. One example is a company that bioengineers spider silk to make clothing. Another example is a wallpaper that uses bacteria to harvest energy. How else can businesses incorporate living materials into designs to enhance product performance?




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