Questions to Carlos Olguin about his work in 3d bioprinting, substance programming, 4d design, and more

Carlos Olguin ( Carlos Olguin ) - in the head region of bio / nano / programmable substance in R & D division of Autodesk studies. His group of 18 experts is exploring design possibilities related to substance programming, collaborating with researchers from leading research institutes and commercial companies from around the world. In anticipation of Carlos’s arrival at Autodesk University Russia, I managed to ask him a few questions about his work,
Carlos, please tell us what your group is doing. Is the main topic of your development a 3D printing of human organs?
Yes, our work includes bioprinting, but this is only a small part of what the group does. In general, we are talking about the programming of matter at different scales and in different areas. For example, one of our projects, which we implement together with partners from universities, is related to synthetic biology. Research in the field of 3D bioprinting is carried out in collaboration with Organovo (San Diego), as well as other organizations involved in this technology. In addition, we are exploring the possibilities of programming matter on a large scale.
An example of this is the work we are doing with Skylar Tibbits of MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This 28-year-old professor, architect, designer and IT specialist is developing a technology called 4D printing, where the fourth dimension is time. He builds large-scale structures capable of self-assembly. 4D printing is similar to 3D bioprinting in that in both cases the printed structure, whether it be a cell or something large made of polymer, continues to change over time in accordance with the designer's intention. Simply put, the processes that occur in nature, we transfer to production - this is 4D printing.
So 4D printing goes beyond medicine and synthetic biology?
Imagine that you went to IKEA and bought a disassembled packed chair there. When you open the packaging at home, the chair is automatically assembled. Of course, this is not yet a ready-made technology, but an example of the research of large-scale 4D printing that we conduct with MIT.
In addition, we work with space agencies, and this area is very important, as you understand. With minimal resources in space, you can print everything you need, in case of need or emergency. Such technologies are very interested in the space industry, in particular, NASA - because we are talking about the possibility of three-dimensional printing of whole mechanisms that can evolve over time. Again, while nothing like this is happening in space, but our team is doing this.
Is this the technology of the distant future?
In fact, now they are going through the “incubation period”. We expect that they will grow to an "adult" state as early as next year.
Tell me, what audience will your presentation at Autodesk University Russia 2013 be focused on?
The concepts that will be discussed are completely new, so we look forward to a very diverse audience. In fact, I want to give an extreme example (of course, we are not talking about AU Russia) - we really like to communicate with children, because they do not have an established point of view on design. When we grow up, we get used to the approach to things “from top to bottom”: things can be cut, torn with hands, assembled from parts. 3D and 4D printing are completely different, as is substance programming in general. In 3D bioprinting and 4D printing, as in synthetic biology, the top-down approach is inappropriate, since we are talking about introducing local restrictions on the part, the application of which leads to the appearance of the desired design during its growth.
Therefore, we want to see engineers of various directions, architects, who are ready to learn how to perceive the built world not as something static, but as something that can be continued to be designed in the process of evolution (construction). This concept exists in nature, and in many ways we learn to use it in nature - this is what synthetic biology does. In it, we add functions to natural living objects that were originally unusual for them, but a similar technology can be used in production, construction and other fields.

This is, in fact, the announcement. I hope that during Carlos’s arrival in Moscow, he will be able to find out the details. You can post your questions in the comments. Who goes to AU Russia will be able to ask questions in person (Carlos speaks on the second day of the event)
UPD: Topic moved to the Biotechnology hub and the Future is here