Seeing the Bigger Picture – Putting the Potential Value of “Spider Silk” Technology into Perspective
While naturally produced spider silk has long been understood to have a superior level of tensile strength, research institutions and companies alike are seemingly on the verge of attaining the ability to harness this technology and apply it to various fields of endeavor. Sure, the idea of using such spider silk to swing from one building to another might be attractive to a certain comic book superhero fan club. In reality, however, the utility of this “packaged spider silk” could virtually spread across multiple, disparate applications in both governmental and commercial sectors. This concept of application versatility truly showcases this technology’s remarkable value for growth in the not-so-distant future.
Take Velcro back in the 1940’s, for example. This “zipperless zipper” idea came to a Swiss engineer named George de Mestra after witnessing seeds continually latching onto his clothes and his dog’s fur. In time, NASA was using it onboard their shuttles in both astronaut spacesuits and on-the-wall supply fasteners. After soon being incorporated in an array of leisure applications including skiing, surfing, and SCUBA, it further became utilized in nuclear power plants, automobiles, army tanks, combat uniforms, and footwear.
A packaged spider silk product would represent the same universal applicability as Velcro, thereby covering a vast array of commercialization areas. In terms of government utility, this spider silk can be used in ballistic armor and cables on board aircraft carriers. In terms of health-based utility, this material can be used in the creation of artificial ligaments or tendons as well as in the improvement of bandages and surgical thread. Further utility is foreseeable in the production of a number of commercial applications including lightweight clothing, fishing lines, seat belts, high strength cables, parachutes, biodegradable bottles, just to name a few.
Qualitystocks has identified the major players in this emerging industry which includes smaller companies represented by Kraig Biocraft Laboratories Inc (KBLB.OB), Angiotech International, Nexia Biotechnologies, and Oxford Biomaterials as well as the chemical giant, Dupont. Government organizations, consisting of the US Army, US Air Force, and the National Science Foundation, have also been actively funding spider silk research programs including Tufts University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California at Santa Barbara.
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