Imagine one day waking up, showering then coating yourself with a slime normally found in the sewers of England, which immediately takes the shape of your pants and shirt. It might sound like Spiderman 3—or just totally freakin' disgusting—but an industrial designer is taking the concept seriously, studying something called "biofilms" for use in self-repairing structures like bridges, buildings or textiles.
There is a catch though: "The National Institutes of Health estimate that biofilms account for more than 80 percent of microbial infections in the human body."According to the Wired piece:
Biofilms...are three-dimensional colonies of bacteria that secrete a starchy covering that protects the tiny creatures from predators, UV radiation and antibiotics.
You wouldn't want your brand new T-shirt protecting a virulent strain of killer virus from your body's normal defenses, would you?
David Bramston, a industrial design lecturer at the UK's University of Lincoln, partnered with Ron Dixon, head of forensic and biomedical sciences at the same university, to study a particular slime that grows on pipes in the sewers of England. By studying the material—slag—where the slime grows, Bramston thinks he can figure out a way to grow it for industrial purposes.
The flipside is that, through this research, Bramston and Dixon will find ways of preventing the growth of slime as well, so that, in lieu of making you a more dapper dresser, your clothes won't go all Venom and end up trying to kill you. [Wired Science; Venom parody source image]