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Will Silk Worms Help Build Our Future Cities?

MIT Media Lab conducts a silk worm-enabled experiment in bio-digital fabrication.

Will Silk Worms Help Build Our Future Cities?

It’s amazing what an army of 6,500 silk worms can do. The MIT Media Lab’s Mediated Matter Research Group (led by Neri Oxman) collaborated with Harvard and Tufts to explore the relationship between digital and biological fabrication. They designed a Silk Pavilion–26 polygonal silk panels based on silk worm cocoons and fashioned by a CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) machine. Then they covered the structure in live silk worms and let the little buggers go to work. The worms automatically spun silk to reinforce the weakest areas of the structure. Go worms, go!

About the author

Jennifer Miller is the author of The Year of the Gadfly (Harcourt, 2012) and Inheriting The Holy Land (Ballantine, 2005). She's a regular contributor to Co.Create.