3D Printing An “Engineered Living Material” That Can Heal After Damage

Researchers have learned how to 3D bio print an “engineered living material” that can heal itself after accumulating damage.

“This work, published in Nature Communications, could lead to the creation of real-world materials that detect and heal their own damage, such as fixing a crack in a windshield, a tear in the fuselage of an aircraft or a pothole in the road”

The blocks, made out of a bacterial cellulose-based material can be assembled in a similar manner to architecture. You may even be able to construct buildings that are “engineered” to heal after being damaged by a natural weather phenomena.

How about a dam that can heal smaller cracks before they get out of control? Or an asteroid mining base that can heal after an impact from a meteorite?

Combine this with shape shifting metamaterial technology and you have a building that can not only prepare itself for something ahead of time by assuming a different shape, but if damaged in any way, can also heal itself afterward.

A few bioethical considerations we do have to make is:

If you are essentially creating something that is “living” to what extent is it ethical to treat it like a utilitarian material?

Which leads to other questions?..

How do you define life.. consciousness?

If there is a difference in consciousness between us and the living material, to what extent is human life more valuable than this other life?

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