Silkworms: The Original 3D Printers

May 31, 2013 | Julia Dawidowicz

In an exploration of the “relationship between digital and biological fabrication in design,” the MIT media lab joined forces with 6,500 silkworms to create the “Silk Pavilion.” First, the research team developed software that imitated silkworm spinning patterns to create a primary CNC-fabricated 3D structure from 26 polygonal panels. From there, the worms took over, reinforcing the cocoon with patches of their glorious, translucent silk.

“The silkworms were removed prior to metamorphosis,” the statement explains. “Eggs laid during the reproduction cycle can yield 250 additional pavilions.” Damn.

See them in action in the video above. The close-ups of the silkworms spinning away are pretty awesome.