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Does Rather More Than a Spider Can: Genetically Engineered "Bulletproof" Skin
August 19, 2011 6:52 PM   Subscribe

Dutch Artist Bio-Engineers Spider Silk into Skin, Making It "Bulletproof". Following on the work of Randy Lewis, a scientist studying how ultra-resilient artificial spider-silk can be used for body armor and other military products, Dutch artist Jalila Essaidi has integrated this engineered silk into a patch of human skin. Experiments with a rifle necessarily followed. Video and her explanation here.
posted by darth_tedious (30 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
The team claims that during a firing process, this bullet ‑ with partly reduced speed ‑ went straight through a normal piece of human skin. The 'bulletproof' human skin stopped the bullet at the same speed, but didn't survive a shot with the actual speed after which the project was named, the release stated.

So, not bulletproof, then. Still interesting, though, especially that this was done by an artist as opposed to a Blackwater bio-engineered cyborg-scientist or something.
posted by Huck500 at 7:07 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


This will either be horrible or awesome. We shall see.
posted by humanfont at 7:08 PM on August 19, 2011


Wow. If this doesn't get the economy moving again, nothing will.
posted by parmanparman at 7:11 PM on August 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Bah. Nato .556? Bunny-killer rounds. Might as well be shooting milk-duds with a slingshot. Get back to me when spider-skin can laugh off bear medicine.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:18 PM on August 19, 2011


Video

That Dutch lady is out standing in her field.

But, yeah, hey, bulletproof skin? Heck, I might move back to America if I could get me some of that!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:27 PM on August 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Only MetaFilter would yawn at bullet-resistant skin engineering.

So, let me get this straight: It receives moving pictures with sound wirelessly and displays them in your home, but not in color? Doesn't transmit odor? It's two-dimensional only? Good luck with your "television", I guess.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:28 PM on August 19, 2011 [13 favorites]


So will this be considered canon for the new Spider-Man?
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:33 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Until quite recently spider silk had the highest tensile strength known to man. And the name silksteel pays homage to the arachnid for good reason.
-Commissioner Pravin Lal, 'U.N. Scientific Survey'"

posted by The Whelk at 7:38 PM on August 19, 2011


(okay raise your hand if you turned on google CC for the first video and was really confused for a good 25 seconds?)
posted by The Whelk at 7:40 PM on August 19, 2011


Spider-skin
Spider-skin
Does whatever a spider's skin does
Stop a shot
From a gun?
'Less it's slow
Not really, son.
Look out...he's wearing spider-skin!
posted by xingcat at 7:46 PM on August 19, 2011 [7 favorites]


LONG LIVE THE NEW FLESH!
posted by loquacious at 7:50 PM on August 19, 2011


Given how the entire country is obsessed with organic food and anti-genetic modification, this is guar-an-teed to strike a chord.

Don't mess with milk, cuz that's bad for your body, but GMing your body itself? Sure, and see if we can get an arts grant!
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:51 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Until quite recently spider silk had the highest tensile strength known to man. And the name silksteel pays homage to the arachnid for good reason.

What took over as #1?

On preview, I'll check myself... A really quick Googling says Micro-Melt® 10 Tough Treated Tool Steel (AISI A11).
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:53 PM on August 19, 2011


Capt. Renault, straw man much?

Also, just wondering, what "entire country" are you referring to?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:55 PM on August 19, 2011




I suppose this is very interesting from a scientific point of view, but if there are any artistic merits to this project at all, they went straight over my head.
posted by monospace at 8:02 PM on August 19, 2011


Huck500: "a Blackwater bio-engineered cyborg-scientist"

Blackwater is going to turn into MJ12, just you wait.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:14 PM on August 19, 2011


Little by little, Snow Crash becomes our reality. I'm going to go run back to my burbclave to escape this madness.
posted by tmt at 8:25 PM on August 19, 2011


middleclasstool, I think that what people are reacting negatively to is the hyperbole. If we use your analogy, we would probably react the same way to tv if it were presented as "movie stars, straight from the big screen, interacting with you, right in your front room!" this is cool, but the title is misleading.
posted by KGMoney at 8:25 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


if there are any artistic merits to this project at all, they went straight over my head.

This is how I feel about pretty much all modern art, really.
posted by AdamCSnider at 8:31 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is how I feel about pretty much all modern art, really.

Yeah, I hear ya, buddy! Hell, my 3-year-old could make bullet-proof skin!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:44 PM on August 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Might as well be shooting milk-duds with a slingshot.

Now, if wars were fought exactly like that, war would be AWESOME.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:45 PM on August 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


After a little research, the best you're going to do with a milk dud and a slingshot
is an art piece called "3.0 grams, 60 m/s", which doesn't have nearly the impact of
the original art piece (quantitatively, only 3.8% the impact).
posted by the Real Dan at 9:41 PM on August 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is super news for the human species, in that it will ultimately lead to many breakthroughs in bullet engineering.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:59 PM on August 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


1. Put Snuggle Dryer sheets between human skin cell layers
2. Gently toss shotgun slugs with increasing force onto Snuggle/Human Hybrid Skin and OldHuman Skin until OldHuman skin breaks but SnuggleNeoSkin does not (6m/s).
3. Issue press release and video about Shotgun Resistant Snuggle Engineered NeoSkin entitled "384m/s", which investigates issues of safety and pillowy softness in biotechnology.
4. Unleash army of bullet-resistant Snuggle bears to eat critics.
posted by benzenedream at 11:28 PM on August 19, 2011


Capt. Renault, straw man much?

What, first they bioengineered skin/spider silk. But, their pride knowing no bounds, they decided to make a being, combining the DNA of grass with that of a man: a straw man. Flimsy, yet flammable.
posted by ennui.bz at 5:06 AM on August 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


So there's no explanation of exactly how fast these "reduced speed" bullets are traveling?
posted by bonobothegreat at 5:40 AM on August 20, 2011


I don't know about this skin business but I am totally up for being a victim of a milk dud drive-by right now.
posted by srboisvert at 5:48 AM on August 20, 2011


I just bought this magic semi-bullet resistant goatspider silk skin from a dutch goth in a field, can I get paypal to refund my money in case it doesn't work? Probably should have put that on the Amex.
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:12 AM on August 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


First customer: Phoenix Jones.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:02 AM on August 21, 2011


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