The New Spider Man Could Have Bulletproof Skin

Human skin structure

Image via Wikipedia

Yes, it is being reported that scientists have invented Bulletproof Skin.

With the help of an artist, scientists created “skin” from genetically engineered spider silk that’s capable of stopping bullets fired at reduced speeds.

Its the stuff of dreams.

Or nightmares.

Depending on whether you are theĀ  the humble scientists or the evil genius.


Ok, pulling myself from my Stan Lee moment. Lol.

Researcher Randy Lewis and his collaborators at Utah State University gained international attention after discovering a way to manufacture silk fibers using goats and silkworms that had spider genes inserted into their makeup. Lewis bred about three dozen genetically engineered goats capable of this, and extracts proteins from their special milk, then spins them in a way that replicates the spider’s method, resulting in the strong, light-weight fiber. Spider silk is one of the strongest fibers known – five times stronger than steel.

With Lewis’ help, Dutch artist Jalila Essaidi – funded by a European genetics-in-art grant -experimented by weaving a lattice of human skin cells and silk to create “bulletrproof skin”. Essaidi acknowledged that Lewis thought the project was wacky at first.

“But in the end, what curious person can say no to a project like this?” she said.

Essaidi initially intended to fire .22 caliber bullets at the “skin” stretched in a frame but decided to place it on a special gelatin block used at the Netherlands Forensic Institute.

A high-speed camera showed that a bullet fired at a reduced speed pierced skin woven with ordinary silk. But when tested again with Lewis’ genetically engineered silk grafted between the epidermis and dermis, the skin didn’t break. Neither, however, could repel a bullet fired at normal speed from a .22 caliber rifle.

Will it saves lives? Not yet.

Lewis was surprised the skin kept the bullet from going in but acknowledged, “It still ended up 2 inches into the torso so it would not have saved your life,” he said. “But without a doubt the most exciting part for us is the fact that they were able to recreate the skin on top of our fibers. It’s something we haven’t done – nobody has worked in that area.”

But. come on’…aren’t you secretly humming the SpiderMan theme song as you read this! I know I am….

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