Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a new 3D printable hydrogel responsive materials or “living ink” which is capable of sensing and responding to stimuli. The living Inc takes the form of a hydrogel consisting of bacteria that can be genetically programmed by the researchers to light-up when the bacteria comes in contact with certain chemicals. Watch the video below to learn more about the 3D printed living responsive materials and some of the applications it may be used for.
A new paradigm in 3D printing is reported by using genetically programed cells as active components to print living materials and devices. The design principle and general method are provided to fabricate large-scale, high-resolution living materials, which are capable of integrating engineered cells into hydrogel constructs that maintain high viability of cells and respond to signaling chemicals in programed manners.
3D printing has been intensively explored to fabricate customized structures of responsive materials including hydrogels, liquid-crystal elastomers, shape-memory polymers, and aqueous droplets. Herein, a new method and material system capable of 3D-printing hydrogel inks with programed bacterial cells as responsive components into large-scale (3 cm), high-resolution (30 μm) living materials, where the cells can communicate and process signals in a programmable manner, are reported. The design of 3D-printed living materials is guided by quantitative models that account for the responses of programed cells in printed microstructures of hydrogels. Novel living devices are further demonstrated, enabled by 3D printing of programed cells, including logic gates, spatiotemporally responsive patterning, and wearable devices.
More details on the research jump over to the MIT website and Advanced Materials using the links below.