In the future, your couch may be alive!

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

living material
In the future, materials may be made with living cells that adapt to your needs.

The phrase “couch shopping” doesn’t exactly have a fun ring to it. However, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are working on a cool “living” material that will make something as boring as furniture actually exciting!

The researchers essentially want to create a material no less natural than trees and bones, yet still advanced enough to mold freely. In order to do this, they take bacteria cells and make them into “factories” by changing their DNA – molecules that dictate how a living creature will grow. With these simple modifications, the scientists can control what and how much material the bacteria produce simply by adding chemicals.

Some of the potential products that can be made from this living material are shirts that mend themselves after a large rip, or couches that grow a recliner for your tired feet. Additionally, the scientists imagine several electronics and eyewear devices that would benefit from the “smart” material, since it’s capable of conducting electricity and emitting light. Because it’s alive, the material is also extremely eco-friendly and long-lasting.

Researchers expect their experiments to one day create products with futuristic living material as soon as 3.5 years from now.

Featured image courtesy of Mark J Sebastian on Wikimedia. Image of living material courtesy of Richard Wheeler on Wikipedia.