Puma has teamed up with the MIT Design Lab to explore how using living organisms can enhance a person’s performance when wearing sportswear.
Four initial experiments that derived from that study were exhibited at this year’s Milan Design Week, which took place in Italy last week.
Through this partnership, which initiated a little over a year ago, Puma and MIT have been conducting research on how biodesign – the practice of using living materials such as algae or mycelium – can bring the advances in science and biotechnologies to the consumer’s daily lives through sports products. For the MIT Design Lab, its long term aim is to make athletic gear that is “highly adaptable, personalized, and future-proof”.
The four initial projects include a Breathing Shoe, which is a biologically active shoe that enables personalised ventilation by growing its own air passageways to keep the foot cool; Deep Learning Insoles, which collate realtime biofeedback by using organisms to measure chemical phenomena that indicates things like fatigue; Carbon Eaters, which is a microbially-active t-shirt that responds to its environment to change its appearance and inform the wearer about air quality; and Adaptive Packaging, a biologically programmable material that can change its shape and structure to become a new type of alive, biodegradable and adaptive packaging.
The exhibition was powered by a desktop bio-prototyping platform by Biorealize, which brings the capabilities of a biology wetlab into a single piece of hardware that enables the user to design, culture and test organisms.