A group of students from New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology have developed a biologically derived filament that can be knit, whether by hand or machine, to create a new breed of textile. Composed of alginate, a polysaccharide found in the cell walls of brown algae, the material led the so-called “Bioesters” team to clinch first place at the Biodesign Summit at the Museum of Modern Art last month.
Foodies might recognize the stuff. “The form of alginate we experimented with is sodium alginate,” Tessa Callaghan, Gian Cui, Aleksandra Gosiewski, Aaron Nesser, Theanne Schiros, and Asta Skocir told Ecouterre. “It’s used frequently in molecular gastronomy to create flavored caviar through a process called ‘spherification.’ It’s also frequently used in the medical industry for wound dressing and impression making.”