Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are working on growing living materials form biological particles. The goal is to be able to create every day items that can be replaced by a plant-like material. For instance, a dining room table that you would water and keep in the sunlight, or a couch that can grow its own footrest. The possibilities are endless. With the amount of waste we produce, it is essential that we change our ways, lest we run out of natural resources and cover the world with our garbage. This would reduce the amount of resources that we take from the earth and would also be fully recyclable.
By modifying E. coli bacteria, the scientists can manipulate it to grow biofilms that contain artificial genetic programs. Then they add different chemicals to influence the materials that are produced by the biofilms. They have also designed bacterias that do not require human influence, but can act and grow on their own. This brings up some questions as to how quickly the materials can grow and advance. Because of this, many people might be hesitant to adopt this kind of technology.
These bio materials are still years away from being realistic for public use, but this can open up many doors and take us exponentially further into the future. If everyone could have a bio shirt that could grow into the shape and size that you need, fix any tears or snags, and then be recycled, imagine how much of an impact on the world. From furniture to clothing, the possibilities are endless.