How to grow a bone Gif1

Watch an amazing short film in which TED Fellow Nina Tandon and her partner Sarindr Bhumiratana describe their new business: “a revolutionary bone reconstruction company that allows patients to ‘grow their own bone’.” What? Yeah. Watch it.

A biting ant photographed in Western Australia, May 2012. Image: Flickr

Things have gotten a little more sophisticated since the days when biting ants were used to seal wounds. Here, a fascinating, non-exhaustive tour through the extraordinary material advances of the past millennia.

Biocouture's biomaterial can be grown in a vat filled with a sugary green tea solution using a kombucha culture. Once the layer of microbial cellulose is sufficiently thick, it is harvested, washed and allowed to dry. After the water evaporates it resembles a vegetable leather. Image courtesy Biocouture.

What might our clothes look like in 50 years? Textile designer Suzanne Lee thinks the answer lies far beyond the traditional borders of fashion design. She’s experimenting with making materials from living organisms. Might we really wear a bustier made of bacteria? Lee makes her case.