Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have obtained a genetically modified strain of bacteria compatible with 3D printing materials. With their help, they plan to create "living tattoos" that will be able to respond to external influences.
The cell walls of the bacteria turned out to be strong enough to withstand a shot from the nozzle of a 3D printer, so the scientists had only 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 specific reactions to specific chemicals. This will become a system for their control - by supplying the necessary solutions to the nodes of a three-dimensional structure, scientists will be able to launch a pre-programmed process.
In the simplest example, a 3D film was applied to human skin with a pattern in the form of a tree structure, the branches of which can be painted in different colors. Further work will be carried out on the densification of the patterns and the increase, as well as the complication of the connections in them. The ultimate goal is to copy the architecture of an electronic microchip to get an analogue of a 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 will be able to print the desired pattern on the skin layer by layer. And if the creation of a "living wearable computer" is still very far away, then scientists will be able to present the simplest markers and sensors to mankind in the near future. For example, a live tattoo that responds to signs of indoor carbon monoxide or an insulin controller in the patient's body.