Digital biofabrication to realize the potentials of plant roots for product design

Jiwei Zhou, Bahareh Barati, Jun Wu, Diana Scherer, Elvin Karana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
134 Downloads (Pure)


Technological and economic opportunities, alongside the apparent ecological benefits, point to biodesign as a new industrial paradigm for the fabrication of products in the twenty-first century. The presented work studies plant roots as a biodesign material in the fabrication of self-supported 3D structures, where the biologically and digitally designed materials provide each other with structural stability. Taking a material-driven design approach, we present our systematic tinkering activities with plant roots to better understand and anticipate their responsive behaviour. These helped us to identify the key design parameters and advance the unique potential of plant roots to bind discrete porous structures. We illustrate this binding potential of plant roots with a hybrid 3D object, for which plant roots connect 600 computationally designed, optimized, and fabricated bioplastic beads into a low stool.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-122
Number of pages12
JournalBio-Design and Manufacturing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Biodesign
  • Digital biofabrication
  • Living organisms
  • Material-driven design
  • Plant roots


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