7 Start-Ups Imitating Mother Nature

Flickr, superiphi; Spiber
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Some say a spider's silk is stronger than steel. While that's not entirely true -- it's actually less dense and has similar tensile strength -- certain arachnids can produce up to seven different kinds of silk fiber.

Many have tried to replicate the material, but only a Japanese start-up called Spiber managed to pull off the feat of creating spider proteins that produce silk in fiber, film, foam, and mesh form. The material has many uses, from treating wounds to building bulletproof vests.