The blog is written by Biol312 Writing in Biology students at UMass Amherst
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Future of Spider-Man
Future of Spider-Man
Could you imagine being Spider-Man for just a second? Swinging from building to building and shooting spider webs from your hands would just be living life on a whole new level. However, this may not be possible yet, but artificial muscle is now being experimentally made with spider silk. The reason behind this is because of it's stunning qualities that are much similar to our muscles. Also, with spider silk muscles, our bodies would be much more efficient at what they do.
According to Science daily's recent article from American Institute of Physics, the Ornithoctonus Huwena spider can be bred artificially for their silk. The property of the silk that makes it so key to resembling our human muscles is it's shrink-stretch ability. The silk is specifically triggered by water as it has a strong affinity for it. The protein structure of the silk down to the alpha-helices and beta-sheets give the silk it's strength and elasticity qualities. Although this system sounds very simplistic in the sense that using water causes the silk to stretch, and taking the water away from the silk causes it to shrink, there is a much larger mechanism taking place. The study being conducted is how the silk interacts with the water and applying these mechanisms to the development perhaps in artificial muscle or devices.
Although scaling walls and gliding across buildings would be cool, we are far ways from that. The spider silk is still currently under study as scientists have only started looking into this specific strand of silk from the spider to observe human-like muscle qualities. Development of a product or utilizing the spider silk within the human body has not yet been done, but scientists do know what triggers the spider's silk to stretch and retract to behave like our very own muscles. Perhaps future technological advances will allow for the spider silk to be used as a device or even to create artificial muscles for our human body.