Scientists Look to E. Coli to Make Better Chairs

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You’re likely pretty sure that you don’t want the E. coli bacteria lingering around your home, but what if it helped make your chairs more comfortable?

No-one wants to see E. coli bacteria lingering around the home, but what if it helped make your chairs more comfortable?

Believe it or not, that’s not a hypothetical question. Scientists at MIT have discovered a way to incorporate the much-maligned bacteria into a number of truly beneficial developments.

Among them is making seating that molds to your body, creating the sigh-releasing experience we all long for.

It’s part of a larger effort in some scientific communities to make organic things just as programmable as digital ones.

The bacteria facilitate this goal by helping to create adaptable biofilms.

Biofilms are pretty much a form of slime, but if engineered properly, they can be made to take directions.

Ideally, they can also learn how to handle some situations both on their own and as a group, like what to do if somebody sits on them.

The team has not only determined that this type of activity and communication is possible, they’ve learned quite a bit about manipulating it.

In addition to making a better chair, their discovery can also lend itself to applications in solar energy and other areas of commercial manufacturing including electrical circuitry, tissue engineering and even agricultural biofuels.

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