Scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology received a genetically modified strain of bacteria compatible with materials for 3D printing. With their help, they plan to create “live tattoos” that can react to external influences.
The cell walls of the bacteria were strong enough to withstand a shot from the nozzle of the 3D printer, so scientists only had to ensure their survival in the hydrogel, which serves as a consumable raw material. Genetically modified bacteria will be divided into tens and hundreds of species, with a specific reaction to specific chemicals. This will become their control system – by supplying the necessary solutions to the nodes of the three-dimensional structure, scientists will be able to start the pre-programmed process.
In the simplest example, a 3D film with a pattern in the form of a tree-like structure was applied to the human skin, the branches of which can be painted in different colors. Further work will be done to compact the patterns and increase, as well as complicate the links in them. The ultimate goal is to copy the architecture of the electronic microchip to get an analog of the mini-computer.
The word “tattoo” is mentioned because of the technique of creating patterns from bacteria – instead of implanting a foreign implant into the human body, a 3D printer can layer the desired pattern layer by layer. And if before the creation of a “live wearable computer” is still very far, then scientists will be able to give the simplest markers and sensors to humanity in the near future. For example, a live tattoo that reacts to the appearance of signs of carbon monoxide in the room or an insulin level controller in the patient’s body.