It’s people! They really should name the product “soylent wool” 😀
Wendelin Stark would like a new sweater. It’s cold in Zürich, where he lives, so he’d like a really warm one. Preferably one as cozy as cashmere.
Before long, Stark may be wearing one of his own invention, crafted with an ultra-soft wool-like yarn spun from all the stuff that’s left after an animal’s been slaughtered and processed. His team at the Functional Materials Laboratory at ETH Zürich, where he’s a professor, has spent four years creating such a fabric, and recently created a working prototype—of a mitten.
My preferred use for animal by-products is petroleum production. There was news years ago about someone who’d pioneered a contraption to produce petroleum/oil from chicken carcasses, wanting to employ them near chicken farms. I doubt it would be enough volume to fuel vehicles, but given the hurdles that the gelatin wool still has to address – petroleum production for textiles that already work would be a better use of resources to me. We are more dependent on petroleum products than we’d like to admit.
For a variety of medical reasons, it’s useful to implant devices inside the body. These devices may be needed to help regulate the cardiovascular system, or they can release drugs inside the body. Unfortunately, they’re also problematic. Once such a device has served its function, it must be removed, which necessitates another surgery. Plus, its presence can lead to complications such as infection, inflammation, and pain.
To address some of these problems, scientists have developed new kinds of circuitry that can safely dissolve in the body. While these water-soluble devices don’t need to be removed, they come with a new problem—they dissolve too quickly for many purposes. So a group of researchers have now reported that they’ve developed a new way to control how long the devices last. The researchers propose that dissolving devices could be encased in a material made from silk protein and magnesium. The advantage of this approach comes from a property of the silk: its crystallinity.
Royal College of Art graduate Julian Melchiorri has developed a “man-made biological leaf,” made from chloroplasts and a silk product, that produces oxygen the same way a real plant does. As Melchiorri explains in the video, that could be a boon for space exploration.
The chandelier looks interesting, and it’s cool to think that the light would serve both illumination and produce oxygen. Plants don’t grow in zero gravity, hence the need for this sort of technology. But how does it taste in salad?