The Real Life Spider-Men

It’s tougher than any man-made material It’s a combination of strength and elasticity. No other material can actually combine these
two features. Either material is strong or it’s elastic. Spider silk is both. Five times stronger than steel, spider silk
has been tantalizing the human imagination for decades. You want to be Spider Man?
You have to make fibers. But we can’t just farm the silk , because
spiders eat each other, so scientists have pursued other routes. A DNA sequencing breakthrough in Germany means manufacturing spider silk fiber is
no longer pure fantasy. The next step is really producing tons of
the material. In all the offices we have spiders and they’re
like pets. We like to have them around.
We think they’re beautiful. If eight-legged co-workers
make your skin crawl, then the biomaterials lab at Bayreuth
University probably isn’t for you. It’s here that Professor Thomas Scheibel
and his team study natural substances like spider silk in the hope of turning them into
super materials. Spider silk has for a lot of material scientists
been the holy grail for decades. If we take a thumb thick spider fiber, we
could actually get a jumbo jet holding up in air without tearing it apart. It can withstand hundreds of tons of load
in full speed without breaking. The best silk producers are orb-weaving spiders. They have seven different types of silk
with different properties. We find dramatic differences there concerning
mechanics but also concerning other properties. Wanting to harness these characteristics led
to Scheibel’s breakthrough in genetically modifying bacteria to produce
spider silk proteins. This patented technology formed the basis
of AMSilk, the company Scheibel founded with a postdoc from his research lab, Lin Roemer. The bacteria we are using as working horse
are very simple organisms. They only try to grow. And we exploit that, we’re feeding them, we give them
perfect conditions to live and they multiply and multiply. And afterwards we change
their way of living, we give a trigger so
that they stop proliferating and they start producing our protein. After purification, we have the protein in
form of a white powder. AMSilk takes the protein powder, and spins
it into a fiber. So what you can see here is our spinning machine where we produce our Biosteel fiber, which is then transferred to the yarner, who can make the yarn
and later the fabric out of the material. The material is a vegan and biodegradeable
synthetic biopolymer. Rather than use the BioSteel
material in their own product, AMSilk wants to produce it for established brands, who have expertise. Adidas used it to create a concept shoe and Omega made a special edition watch strap. Airbus are also exploring how
it can be used in aviation. They know their product.
We develop together with them, the product has much higher quality in comparison to what we could do on our own. The company has raised millions in venture
capital, but producing enough of the material is the biggest challenge. As it is very thin you need a lot of
the fibre, in a normal sports shoe there are more than 170
kilometres of this fiber, processed into the yarn
and later the fabric of the shoe The company says it has made hundreds of
thousands of kilometres of fibre so far but scaling it up further will take time and money. But like the orb-weaving spider
which uses different silks for different parts of the web, AMSilk is putting the spider silk proteins
to use elsewhere. In the beginning we had this great innovation.
We had thousands of opportunities how to use that for industry. This was a beautiful problem. You can use it for different applications. Everyone had the experience when
he goes to the basement that there might be a spider’s web. If it’s an old house, it might be there for
hundreds of year and it’s not degraded. The question is why? Microbes have a big problem
sticking to the web. If you’re lost in the woods, get a web. You
can use it as a wound coverage device, you can wrap your food. You can actually prevent
your food for rotting for a few days. The material is a proteinaceous materials.
We are all made out of proteins and our body responds very good to the protein and that’s
very suitable for a lot of medical devices. We probably have more than 80 different variants
of silk molecules that we can play with. Some of them are very well suited for tissue
regeneration, some of them are absolutely the opposite. We’re really just at the beginning into understanding
how this material has evolved to actually feature different kinds of applications. That’s exactly what we want. AMSilk is building up production facilities
to make its material at mass scale. It’s hoping to capitalize on the product’s broad potential
and take a lead in an industry harnessing the best attributes of natural substances. We’re living in a time where materials
made from proteins will become more important every day.

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100 thoughts on “The Real Life Spider-Men

  1. Here's an idea. Breed the spider to be the size of a human. Make thousands of them. Now we can farm in "large" quantity. Yes?

  2. I wish "string" in Minecraft would apply the same technology. It would be tough and flexible and more reliable than searching for diamonds.

  3. I sense bullshit, not one person has weaved together a short 3 foot strand of spider silk with a diamter of one cm. That is very possible but no one has done it. Why not?

  4. I would like to mass produce this material.. can you give me the blueprint and the necessary knowledge to make this product my self?

  5. I went to a water fall in Jamaica and saw a big stick floating above me. I then saw that there was one strand of a spider web holding it from a tree. I looked up and saw that there was hundreds of big banana spiders. Truly amazing.

  6. Do you want Spider-Man the beginning?
    Because that's how you get Spider-Man.

    Pd: even if we dont get Spider-Man, the practical use of this silk protein for humans will make us super human.

  7. Yea those shoes cost like, $300+ USD. A waste of money for a pair of sneakers that have one function and are going to get dirty regardless.

  8. Funny how Peter Parker made spider silk strong enough to hold a boat together yet to this day the best of science can barely scratch the surface

  9. omg, when i was a kid i use to see this spider all the time! their everywhere! now i don't see a single one, cuz alot of kids kill them and make them a play thing, lil bastards made them to look for a new home, now they're gone. it's fucking sad.

  10. You know, spiders can change their color… …to blend into their environment. – Really? – Yeah, it's a defense mechanism. – Cool. …transfer RNA to encode an entirely new genome… …combining the genetic information from all three… …into these 15 genetically designed super-spiders. There's 14. I beg your pardon? – One's missing. – Yeah. I guess the researchers are working on that one.

  11. I’d say make 2 big gauntlets with 100 yard woven spider silk in each. Attach a pistol to shoot the web to attach to a building. Use a zipper system to stop the web from spilling all out. Once your done swinging from a segment of the building use an electrical impulse to stop the sticky properties of the web. Then use a reel in the gauntlets like the ones in a tape measure. Repeat and go

  12. There's a kind of house roof spider web that can heal wounds in a day…and the most remarkable about it is that there no scars after healing…faster tissue regenation..i've tried it…

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