by Luis Undritz
How can I develop a simple process to produce living materials with phytoplankton?
Phyto printing is a process in which a light projection is used to control the growth of phytoplankton to create high-resolution prints and living materials that breath and metabolize. My project’s mission is to design a Phyto Printer to make this process accessible to designers, artists, and makers, allowing them to explore the possibilities of this new biofabrication process and enable them to develop a huge range of applications. The printer can operate with a variety of materials, such as: textiles, ceramics, and paper. It is designed to be easily accessible to its users and adaptable to different settings. Additionally, the growth process can be observed.
The centrepiece of my process is phytoplankton, a group of organisms to which cyanobacteria and microalgae belong. These phototactic living beings grow exponentially and can produce large amounts of oxygen and bind carbon dioxide. After the print, the textile must be moistened with water regularly to keep the organisms alive and stimulate their growth.
How to print with phytoplankton.
A living print after 30 days.
Green algae printed on ceramics.
The key technology is a DLP laser projector, which is the interface between the digital image and the organism and the most important part to control the growth of the microbial beings in a precise way. It creates the conditions the organisms need to grow and the light temperature can adapt to the different strains.
Can we create living garment?
Can we produce living fabrics that need special treatment.
Printed on cotton.
The design outcome is a phytoprinter that can be used by others to develop new living materials. I would like to give the design world a tool set to create a more sustainable future and democratize biotechnology for the masses.
Final design of the phyto printer.
With a passion for material driven design and biofabrication, Luis Undritz is an industrial designer based in Germany and London.
During the time when he was pursuing his MA in Biodesign in Central Saint Martins College London, Luis had always been focused on living materials, how they can be manufactured and how to democratise this technology.