Tour a spider farm that harvests silk for cars, clothes and medical devices—at least in imagination, in an animated video by a Brussels-based industrial designer named Thomas Maincent.
Scientists have long studied spider silk for its strength, flexibility and compatibility with biological systems. Different labs are working on putting spider silk proteins in everything from bulletproof vests to artificial skin.
It's difficult to farm spiders, however, as they're territorial and may cannibalize each other if kept in too-close quarters. Maincent imagines a high-rise indoor farm that gives spiders enough room and food to live side by side until they're whisked away to a "milking" area that coaxes the farmed spiders to give up their silk for processing. The farm would hold about 17 spiders in every cubic foot of space.
Maincent plans to keep spiders from cannibalizing each other by keeping them well-fed. His spider farm design attracts and breeds flies using waste, then delivers the flies to the spiders in bags, as the video shows.
The video is a fun tour that sent the barest of shivers down our spine when it showed floors upon floors of spiders, rendered here as X's. Maybe we're too sensitive?
As cool as Maincent's idea is, however, the best way of harvesting spider silk may be to avoid spiders altogether. Many researchers are working on creating genetically modified versions of more easily farmed animals that secrete spider silk proteins in their own bodily fluids.
Source: via Co.Design