They are creepy. They crawl. Whether we notice them or not, they are practically everywhere. They are also a source of inspiration for innovation! What?
Most of us don’t want spiders anywhere near us. It’s always disconcerting when they sneak up on us in the shower, sleep, walk into an invisible net, pop out a long way, or pop out of gaps. When we come across them, their reputation even suggests burning down our homes! Some are huge, some are deadly, most are harmless, and they eat a lot of things that could hurt us.
But it turns out they can inspire much more than fear or superman, who can sling up nets and save people in danger. Who knew these fearsome little eight-legged creatures could give us more than we thought. Here’s innovation, and we can thank these little “horrors” for their influence. So maybe they’re not as bad as we believe. Our nightmares gave way to dreams of a better future.
Chances are you have definitely needed a band-aid, stitches, or gauze and medical tape to keep a healing wound clean at some point in your life—unless you live in a padded room with no sharp edges anywhere and don’t have any fingernails (but that’s a whole other list). So you probably also know how annoying it can be to have to constantly replace them when they get wet and start slipping around, losing their original purpose. So frustrating…and a bit expensive over time. Here come spiders to save the day and your skin.
Scientists at MIT are in the process of perfecting a surgical tape that can adhere to and seal wounds in seconds by using water the same way spider webs absorb water, resulting in a stickier insect grabber. It is a two-sided adhesive with an incredibly strong bond and has been successfully tested on pig skin and lungs. They used a polyacrylic acid to absorb the water and create a bond reinforced by gelatin that will break down harmlessly in the body as the wound heals. No need to schedule a second appointment for stitch removal or itchy rashes from adhesive medical tape. That sounds pretty great.