The US Army Is Creating Real-Life Spider-Man Armor From Genetically Engineered Spider DNA

Tuesday, 15 August 2017 - 10:09AM
Technology
Weird Science
Genetic Engineering
Tuesday, 15 August 2017 - 10:09AM
The US Army Is Creating Real-Life Spider-Man Armor From Genetically Engineered Spider DNA
Image credit: Sony Pictures
For anyone who's grown up reading the adventures of Spider-Man in the comics—particularly anything from the Sixties, when he regularly crafted parachutes and makeshift masks on the fly out of webs—get pumped. One day soon, the military may be dressed up in literal spider-silk body armor, crafted from genetically engineered spider DNA.

The US military is increasing its funding for something known as Dragon Silk, which sadly doesn't involve actual dragons. The government's deal will involve expanding their current partnership with Kraig Biocraft Laboratories Inc. (already worth around a million dollars) to produce dense, lightweight military armor to help keep soldiers safe and protected while allowing them to move with freedom and ease. Spider's silk is phenomenally strong relative to its weight, and as such, it's no surprise that some of Spidey's web creations are making the leap to active military duty.



According to Kraig's
Chief Operating Officer, Jon Rice:

Opening quote
"We will be working closely with our sponsor agency to match the performance of our spider silk to their specific use cases and protective applications. The potential uses of spider silk are nearly limitless, but one of the greatest honors is being able to apply our technology to serving those who dedicate themselves to serving and protecting all of us."
Closing quote


Kraig's technology involves genetically altering silkworms that have been enhanced with the DNA of spiders to enable them to produce silk that's far stronger than anything the worms would normally create—think of them as tiny Tobey Maguires or Tom Hollands.

All of this reminds of the new tech recently taken up by the British army, who are now testing bulletproof "Boba Fett Helmets" to help modern armor keep up with the dangers that soldiers face. It seems that we're moving towards a future where the US are all dressed like Spider-Man, and the UK are all Star Wars characters. That said, the helmets are designed to deal with a very different problem than the silk armor. The main challenge that Kraig Biocraft Laboratories Inc. are hoping to fix involves injuries sustained to soldiers' genitals, which currently aren't receiving adequate protection from standard military gear.

Yes, that's right. Genetically altered super-spider silk is being used to make military underwear. What a time to be alive.
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