Bianca Datta

MIT Media Lab

Bianca Datta is a PhD student at the MIT Media Lab studying materials (both how we can leverage them for technology and how we perceive them). She is part of the Object-Based Media group, in which she investigates how to create and transform interactive displays and interfaces. She is now exploring responsive, living material systems and biomaterials. Through her research, she hopes to build new materials and understand how dynamic or responsive technologies can promote wellbeing and sustainability. 


The Living Material Library presented here is an exploration the complex relationship between dynamic materials and living systems. Our work explores the ways in which intrinsic material properties may be functionally changed through environmental factors and, in turn, serve as dynamic substrates for living systems. We propose a reversible material system that allows for control of living interactions (much like a light switch). We are particularly interested in fluid material systems (such as electrorheological fluids) that transition from a liquid-like to a solid-like state when exposed to electric fields and currents. While other methods of cell intervention often rely on light, chemicals, or temperature, here we explore substrate material properties as inputs for organisms.  Our library may allow for more directed inquiry into specific cell processes. This project is a joint effort with Sunanda Sharma of the MIT Media Lab.


In her spare time, Bianca develops and organizes programs for graduate women, and mentors students in undergraduate living communities as a Graduate Resident Tutor and as a mentor for Minds Matter Boston.  She is an advocate for science communication, and spent this summer working as a journalist at NOVA (PBS).