Bulletproof Skin Made From Spider Silk

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Just last week we learned about spiders coming to the aid of burn victims. Now it looks like our friendly neighborhood arachnids are being used to create the ultimate superhero power: bulletproof human skin.

Well, almost.

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In her new project, 2.6g 329m/s, Dutch artist Jalila Essaidi, along with Forensic Genomics Consortium Netherlands, created a swatch of nearly bulletproof skin made from spider silk and human skin cells. The project takes its name from the maximum weight and velocity a Type 1 bulletproof vest can withstand from a .22 calibre Long Rifle bullet.

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By grafting spider silk between the epidermis and dermis, the skin was able to stop a bullet that was fired at a reduced speed. However, it failed to repel a bullet that was fired at normal speed from a .22 calibre rifle.

But that's fine with Essaidi. She's more interested in the conversation that her project will generate.

"With this work I want to show that safety in its broadest sense is a relative concept, and hence the term bulletproof," Essaidi said in a press release. "The work did stop some partially slowed bullets but not the one at full speed."

"But even with the skin pierced by the bullet the experiment is still a success. It leads to the conversation about how which form of safety would benefit society."

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The project is part of an exhibition called Designers & Artists 4 Genomics at the Naturalis biodiversity museum in Leiden, Netherlands. The exhibit runs until Jan. 8, 2012.

[Via TechNewsDaily]

photo: A bullet is repelled by a matrix of spider silk and human skin cells. Forensic Genomics Consortium of the Netherlands