Digital Genetics

Human skin which is nearly bulletproof?

by on Aug.22, 2011, under cool, science, technology

After spending a weekend watching the Hulk, the news of human skin which is nearly bulletproof was simply too intriguing to pass up.

Apparently, Researchers from the 2.6g 329m/s project (the maximum weight and velocity of a .22 calibre Long Rifle bullet from which a Type 1 bulletproof vest should protect you) have been working on combining the mechanical strengths of spidersilk thread and the frailties of human skin.

Essaidi says, “By implementing this bulletproof matrix of spider silk produced by transgenic goats in human skin I want to explore the social, political, ethical and cultural issues surrounding safety in a world with access to new biotechnologies. Issues which arise on the basis of ancient human desire for invulnerability. It is legend that Achilles, the central character of Homer’s Iliad was invulnerable in all of his body except for his heel. Will we in the near future due to biotechnology no longer need to descend from a godly bloodline in order to have traits like invulnerability?”

Although the newly produced material could only prevent a partially slowed bullet, it did prove to be a success.

Parrallel to this project, there has been great advances in the field of reconstructive plastic surgery. A tissue engineer by the name of Hanna Wendt, and her colleagues in the Department of Plastic, Hand and Reconstructive Surgery at Medical School Hannover in Germany, has recently published a study that suggests spider silk may hold the key to creating artificial skin for burn victims and other patients requiring skin grafts.

“Spider silks display excellent mechanical features that even rival man-made, high-tech fibers,” the study explains.

A matrix of spider silk is delicately woven onto a steel frame, resulting in a meshwork frame, upon which, given the right conditions of warm, nutrients and air, skin cells could flourish.

The full article on this amazing research is available here:
http://www.livescience.com/15443-artificial-skin-spun-spider-silk.html


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