Sunday, 2 June 2013

Fabric tech: Synthetic Spider Silk

Aside from system development in the fashion industry, perhaps the next big trend is/will be the incorporation of really clever fabric - like Qmonos:

"Qmonos is a tough, lightweight artificial spider silk with mass production applications, including everything from car parts to artificial blood vessels. […] Spiber, a startup in northern Japan, is showing off a dress made from synthetic spider silk. The firm is one of several groups looking into how to make and use artificial spider silk, a task that has proven to be very challenging for scientists.The electric-blue dress was created from a material Spiber calls Qmonos (from kumonosu, or “spider web,” in Japanese). The material is extremely strong and more flexible than nylon. […] The company, a spinoff from Tokyo’s Keio University, has applied for 16 patents on its spider silk know-how. It is also teaming up with auto parts maker Kojima Industries to build a plant that can turn out about 220 pounds of the synthetic silk a month. Spiber hopes to have an initial mass production of 10 tons a year starting in 2015."

If this slightly epic intro film is anything to go by, the developers are hoping that Qmonos will be accessible to and known by all of us through a wide variety of industries. The dress looks really beautiful, too. And its 5 times stronger than steel.