I usually like writing about some of the cooler science and technology that I find on any given day but sometimes the stuff that I run across scares the hell out of me and this is one of those posts.
You see, I wrote the other day about humans soon having the ability to embed electronic circuits in our skin, nicely referred to as electronic tattoos, and how that just weirded me out. Well that was nothing compared to this little gem from out of the Netherlands.
It seems that Jalila Essaidi is trying to take the milk from genetically modified “spider goats” and somehow use it to make our skin bulletproof.
First let’s clear up this whole genetically modified “spider goat milk” thing.
This all starts because man has been trying to find ways to be able to harvest large quantities of spider silk because of its incredible tensile strength but given they are so small in quantity it is a problem. Enter researchers at the University of Wyoming who have been experimenting with adding the “spiders” dragline silk gene into goats in such a way that goats will only make the protein in their milk.
Then the idea is to be able to extract the protein from the milk and thereby have usable spider silk, and in large quantities.
Now comes the bulletproof part
The project is called “2.6g 329m/s,” as 2.6 grams and 326 meters a second are “the maximum weight and velocity of a .22 calibre Long Rifle bullet from which a Type 1 bulletproof vest should protect you,” according to Essaidi. Essaidi isn’t looking to create a better bulletproof vest, however. Her prototype, pictured above, is a wafer formed by sandwiching a spider silk matrix between two layers of human tissue.
Essaidi’s bulletproof human project is still very much in the conceptual phases, and her prototype isn’t completely stopping bullets all the time, but it’s definitely an alluring thought. Essaidi’s plans are ultimately much more grand, too — she’d like to replace the keratin in our skin with spider silk, so that our bodies (and not some outer layer we’re wearing) could stop a speeding bullet.
It’s no wonder I love my job.