Spiderwebs rarely make a good first impression. Even if you aren’t one of the insects they’re designed to capture, a sudden coating of silk on your face can be annoying, and possibly alarming if you don’t know where the spider ended up.
For those of us large enough to escape, though, spider silk is worth a second look. Not only are its creators much less dangerous to humans than commonly believed — and often more helpful than harmful — but their silk is a vastly undervalued wonder of nature. And while this supermaterial would be worth admiring even if it was useless to us, it also happens to hold huge potential for humanity.
There are lots of reasons to like (or at least tolerate) our arachnid neighbors, but if you can’t make peace with spiders themselves, at least consider making an exception for their silk. Aside from capturing mosquitoes and other troublesome insects, spider silk teems with incredible capabilities, many of which humans would like to imitate. And after centuries of trying to harness the magic of spider silk, scientists are finally unraveling some of its most promising secrets.
Here’s a closer look at what makes spider silk so spectacular, both as a marvel of biology and a treasure trove of biomimicry:
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.
Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!
Maker Business — Pololu’s account of the chip shortage
Wearables — More manicure tools for rugged circuits
Electronics — Probes aren’t perfect!
Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: CircuitPython Multitasking, Dune Gom Jabbar and more! #Python #Adafruit #CircuitPython @micropython @ThePSF
Adafruit IoT Monthly — Coffee Routine, IoT Cat, ESP32-S2 Feather, and more!
Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!
EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey
New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — New Products 12/1/2021 Featuring Adafruit Gift Certificates! (Video)
No comments yet.
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.