BioKnit Prototype.

The BioKnit Prototype is fully grown and residing in the OME, at Newcastle University. The prototype is the result of extensive interdisciplinary research working across biotechnology, digital fabrication and computation to produce a monolithic free-standing biohybrid structure using 3D knit technology. BioKnit was not grown in the lab. Instead through intensive development of the biomaterial system the growth stage was undertaken in “The OME” an experimental test bed in Newcastle.

A few images of the process of knitting, assembly and growth.

BioKnit employs knitted fabric as a scaffold and scaling agent to guide the growth of mycelium and form a bespoke composite. The structure provides the framework to host 2m long bacterial cellulose panels pre-grown to predetermined shapes. Uniquely, the knitted formwork enabled the 1.8m high, 2m diameter structure to be grown as a single piece. The prototype demonstrates that the mycelium-knit composite has sufficient compressive strength to support a free-standing, slender vault. Bacterial cellulose has been applied as a tactile skin and surface treatment to explore the material’s expressive qualities as a biohybrid in combination with mycelium and knitting.

For more information please visit http://bbe.ac.uk/bioknit-final-prototype/

This research is part of a series of prototypes developed in the Hub for Biotechnology in the Built Environment (HBBE). HBBE is funded by Research England and is a joint initiative between Newcastle University and Northumbria University.

Research Team: Jane Scott, Romy Kaiser, Elise Elsacker, Armand Agraviador, Aileen Hoenerloh, Ahmet Topcu, Dilan Ozkan, Ben Bridgens 

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