Wearable Biospheres: Creepy Spacesuits For Extra-Terrestrial Travel

 Long-term space exploration is not as far away into the future as one might expect. Getting there remains a significant hurdle as well as what to wear for the arduous journey. Space-suits haven't changed much over the years and they are quite limiting in the sense that they do little more than provide oxygen, waste management and offer protection from extreme temperatures and the lack of atmosphere.


Space-Suit: Source: Inhabitat.comSpace-Suit: Source: Inhabitat.com


Even in the world of cinema such as that depicted  in the film, Gravity, the life force of all the characters was limited to the moment when oxygen ran out. Enter, with just the tinge of a fashionable shudder, bacteria and algae implanted in weird looking 3-D printed vests that feed off sunlight or waste and in return pump out sucrose, bio-fuels, clean water and light!

Wearable biospheres

These living, breathing, bio-engineered sources of energy function together as a makeshift factory, providing each space-suit with all the essentials necessary to sustain life in outer space. These digestive-track inspired 3-D printed suits are the result of  a collaborative design created by MIT professor, Neri Oxman, and German designers, Christolph Bader and Dominik Kolb.


The Wanderer-3-D printed Vest: Source: Photo by Yoram Reshef-Ecouterre.comThe Wanderer-3-D printed Vest: Source: Photo by Yoram Reshef-Ecouterre.com


Known as the Wanderer, each creation is customized for a different planetary environment. Instead of the more conventional bulky space-suit, a space traveler would don one of these vests packed with bacteria and algae and face the devastating forces of crushing gravity, toxic air, prolonged dakrness and temperatures the can boil glass or freeze carbon dioxide.

The Wanderer project

Stratasys Ltd, a leader in 3-D printing and additive manufacutring solutions, unveiled The Wanderers: An Astrobiological Exploration and according to Naomi Kaempfer, Stratasys Creative Director Art Fashion Design: "With this collection, we have designed spatially and materially complex wearables pointing towards the possibility of containing living matter that can interact with the environment... With 3-D printing, Neri Oxman and her team take our triple-jetting 3-D printing  technology on an outstanding voyage in science through space, time and culture."


The Wanderer: Source: Yoram Resheef for WordlessTech.comThe Wanderer: Source: Yoram Resheef for WordlessTech.com                                                      

How do these futuristic 3-D printed space-suits work?

According to MIT professor Oxman, the designs serve as generators and storehouses of oxygen acting as second skins" and conforming to the  needs of the individual. The Wanderer's surface texture is comprised of 3-D printed wearable tubes that are permeated with artifically engineered bacteria and algae that by feeding off sunlight or waste produce the vital elements humans need to survive hostile environments.


Wearable biosphere: Photo by Yoram Reshef -WordlessTech.comWearable biosphere: Photo by Yoram Reshef -WordlessTech.com


The future of biospheres and space clothing

Will the future of fashion become the creation of living garments that help sustain life in outer space?  Do these wearable biospheres  have the capacity to revolutionize space travel? Professor Oxman believes that "the future of wearables lies in designing augmented extensions to our own bodies that will blur the boundary between the environment and ourselves." Perhaps the most amazing aspect of these these 3-D printed vests lies in the idea that voyaging to different worlds begins by visiting the worlds within us.

Closing thoughts on space exploration:

Geez, all that money we waste on space exploration; just think how many bombs that would buy! ~ Craig Bruce

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