Enhancement of Wearable Textiles by Living Biofilms
"Smart" clothing that responds to the wearer offers compelling advantages over today's inert clothing. By integrating living cells into the textiles that make up our clothing, we can endow them with these "smart" properties. This includes a shirt that begins to smell like flowers when soaked in sweat, pants that "self-heal" after an accidental tear, or industrial uniforms that detect and actively break down toxins. Lululemon and McGill scientists, working together, are aiming to create some of these wearables by growing living films of engineered bacteria on textiles. These bacteria, while completely harmless to humans, can endow textiles with many advanced properties that would otherwise be impossible or highly impractical to implement. These innovations promise to position Canada's leading universities and corporations at the cutting edge of this exciting technology and open the door to a completely new class of consumer products.