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Designers are using 3D printers for fashionable fungus

3D printers might be hitting headlines for their new ability to make guns, negating all real fears of a future zombie apocalypse, but they have other uses too. According to one designer, they can also be used to make fashion items – that are inspired by a parasitic fungus, Cordyceps.

There are several different species of Cordyceps fungus, each one targeting a different species of insect. Upon infecting an ant or similarly sized arthropod, the fungus infects the brain of the little critter, driving it seemingly mad and controlling like an insect segway, to climb as high as possible. At this point the fungus kills the host and uses its bodily nutrients to grow a fruiting body and disperse the spores from there.

Designer Xuedi Chen believes this would be a great inspiration for fashionable garments that grow upon contacting each other and would therefore change over time depending on who you came in contact with.

Just the kind of thing you’d use as fashion inspiration

After failing to achieve the desired result with a chia seeded, lattice design, he said (via Wired) that he: “tried ‘ growing’ forms in processing using the toxiclibs library. Those gave me some interesting results that were semi-random. I’d like to send some of those to Shapeways [an online store for 3D printing designs] for printing at some point in the future.”

The end result. Would you wear this?

The Ophiocordyceps fungus has been showing up all over recently. First you have the game The Last of Us, which sees infected humans gunning for two of the last remaining people and then you have my book, “The Medicine“, which features the fungus as a major antagonist and catalyst for the story.

KitGuru Says: Self plug I know, but how often does an obscure plot point in a book you spent years writing show up in a day to day news story? 

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