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MIT Researchers to 3D Print a Silkworm-Inspired Pavilion Using a Robotic Arm

Posted By Lidija Grozdanic On March 21, 2013 @ 9:42 am In Architecture,biomimicry,green technology,News | No Comments

MIT silkworm pavilion, MIT 3D printing, 3D printers, biomimicry, silkworm cocoons, MIT Media Lab, WYSS Institute Harvard, Mediated Matter Group, building material research, composite materials, digital fabrication, computational design [1]Photo via Shutterstock [2]

MIT [3] has unveiled plans to 3D print [4] a pavilion inspired by the technique that silkworms use to build their cocoons. Data that tracks the movement of a silkworm as it makes its pupal casing will be fed into a robotic arm [5], which will weave a cocoon-like 3D structure that is tough on the outside but softer on the inside.

MIT silkworm pavilion, MIT 3D printing, 3D printers, biomimicry, silkworm cocoons, MIT Media Lab, WYSS Institute Harvard, Mediated Matter Group, building material research, composite materials, digital fabrication, computational design [6]

The 12′x12′ pavilion is being developed in collaboration between MIT Media Lab [3], the WYSS Institute [7] at Harvard University and TUFTS University [8]. The team, led by architect and Mediated Matter Group [9] founder Neri Oxman, is focused on experimenting with multi-scalar composite shell environments through a process of analysis and feedback.

According to the team’s research, silkworms adjust the density of the silk threads by rotating their heads in figure-eight patterns. As the worms construct their cocoons, the wall casing takes on a form in which the material is tough on the outside and soft on the inside. By mimicking the building techniques and patterns of silkworms [10], the scientists aim to create a 3D printer [11] that will print in larger scales than the currently used ones and achieve more complex materiality.

The pavilion, which is slated to be unveiled on April 22nd, opens a way for achieving synthesis between biology, material science, and computation. The new technology will  allow the building of embedded, performance-based designs at a habitable scale.

+ MIT Media Lab [3]

Via Dezeen [12]

Photos by Flickr users Nina Matthews [13] and Sarah Twitchel [14]


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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/the-silk-pavilion-mit-researchers-to-3d-print-a-silkworm-inspired-structure/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2013/03/mit-3d-print-pavilion-silkworm-1.jpg

[2] Shutterstock: http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-79175095/stock-photo-silk-cocoons-with-silk-worm-on-green-mulberry-leaf.html?src=AF17F7E8-9228-11E2-A335-AE8B71D9A14D-1-21

[3] MIT: http://www.media.mit.edu/research/groups/4623/cnsilk-pavilion

[4] 3D print: http://inhabitat.com/tag/3d-printing

[5] robotic arm: http://inhabitat.com/mind-controlled-robotic-arm-to-transform-the-lives-of-the-paralyzed/

[6] Image: http://inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2013/03/Silk-worm-cocoons-1.jpg

[7] WYSS Institute: http://wyss.harvard.edu/

[8] TUFTS University: http://www.tufts.edu/

[9] Mediated Matter Group: http://www.media.mit.edu/research/groups/mediated-matter

[10] silkworms: http://inhabitat.com/genetically-modified-silkworms-spin-super-strong-spider-silk-for-bandages-and-bulletproof-vests/

[11] 3D printer: http://inhabitat.com/formlabs-creates-low-cost-high-quality-3d-printer-that-fits-on-a-desktop/

[12] Dezeen: http://www.dezeen.com/2013/03/13/mit-researchers-to-3d-print-a-pavilion-by-imitating-silkworms/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+dezeen+%28Dezeenfeed%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

[13] Nina Matthews: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21560098@N06/7879095552/sizes/c/in/photostream/

[14] Sarah Twitchel: http://www.flickr.com/photos/60109216@N07/6329071438/sizes/l/in/photostream/

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