Imagine a breathing sports shoe, that grows its own air passageways to enable personalized ventilation. A learning insole that prevents fatigue and improves athletes’ performance. A t-shirt that responds to environmental factors by changing its appearance to inform the wearer about the air quality? These are possibilities that MIT Design Lab and PUMA are looking into so they can create the next generation of sportswear.
New Frontiers of Biological Design
PUMA and MIT Design Lab have been conducting research in the field of bio-design since June 2017. Driven by the advances that are currently being made in fields such as material science, electrical engineering, and artificial intelligence, the German activewear brand, together with the Design Lab team, have been exploring how living organisms can enhance performance.
“The project will explore opportunities that can integrate different touch points of the athletic experience, making it even more dynamic and connected to people everywhere.”
For those unfamiliar with the term Biodesign, it is the practice of using living materials such as algae or bacteria to create products. It makes possible a football jersey made from the silk of a spider or a shoe box grown from mycelium, the root structure of mushrooms. PUMA Biodesign explores the new frontiers of biological design and fabrication to bring advances in science and biotechnologies closer to our daily lives through sports products.
Focusing on how the next generation of athletic footwear, apparel and wearables can adapt in real-time by using living organisms to enhance performance, the MIT Design Lab team aim to make athletic gear highly adaptable, personalized, sustainable and future-proof. According to the MIT Design Lab, this is a project that will also explore opportunities that can integrate different touch points of the athletic experience, making it even more dynamic and connected to people everywhere.
PUMA is working towards showcasing four experiments developed by the MIT Design Lab during Milan Design Week which is powered by the Biorealize desktop bio-prototyping platform and is expected to run from 17 to 22 April 2018. Looking beyond current wearables, PUMA hopes that by incorporating cutting-edge technologies in the field of bio-design, they will be able to come up with new products capable of not only transforming the user experience but will also be programmable materials that can change shape and structure to become new types of alive, biodegradable and adaptive packaging.