Every now and then I have to remind myself that we’re living in the 21st century (and beyond). And things imagined back in the 80s and 90s were a product of pure fiction (science fiction, rather). Sure when Kevlar came around, it was the hot thing in modern armory. Recently, there’s been a very interesting discovery that claims to be 3 times stronger than Kevlar when dodging bullets. But guess what it’s made out of! Human Skin and Spider Silk – yes, you read that right!
A Dutch team has recently created “bulletproof” skin from “special, U.S. made spider silk and human skin cells” that repel bullets more effectively than Kevlar if they do not travel too fast (does not come without limitations), as reported by Fox News.
For example the bulletproof skin isn’t able to survive a shot at normal speed from a .22 caliber rifle. In a collaboration between Dutch artist Jalila Essaidi and the Forensics Genomics Consortium in Netherlands, Essaidi explained that while this could be the next step in bulletproof and armory research/development, she could “demonstrate the relative concept of safety” nonetheless.
She said, “Even with the ‘bulletproof’ skin being pierced by the faster bullet, the experiment is, in my view, still a success. The art project is based on and leads to a debate on the question, ‘Which forms of safety are socially important?’” The bulletproof skin is currently showcased in Leiden, Netherlands at the National Natural History Museum until January 8th, 2012.
So how was this all made? The type of spider silk was genetically made via modified goats and worms at the Utah State University in Logan. Essaidi then combined the spider silk with human skin cells from Leiden University Medical Center.
Fox News reported that, “Such skin is still a long way from adding practical protection to humans, but it gives a glimpse of what future soldiers or would-be superheroes might expect.”