Fact: Snails fed colored paper will poop colored squiggles. Now, silkworms are getting in on the technicolor action: a recent report shows that, after eating mulberry leaves treated with fabric dye, regular larvae will produce cotton-candy-tinted fibers. They're like biological 3D printers for producing colored silk.
If your greatest problem with your silk clothes is that they don't look impressive enough under black light, you're in luck. Researchers in Japan have genetically engineered silkworms that spin silk that glows under fluorescent light.
Working under the assumption that silkworms are nature’s original 3D printers, researchers at MIT Media Lab's Mediated Matter group have created a domed sculpture from silk fibres woven by a robotic arm — which was then completed by over 6,500 silkworms.
Most of your exposure to silk probably comes in the form of uncomfortably sensual linens or cobwebs in a dusty old closet. In reality, though, silk is an incredible and overlooked material. While it may have roots in the ancient past, it could also form the building blocks of the future.
One of the major hurdles of getting a number of drugs into the developing world is that they need to be kept chilled to remain effective. A breakthrough technique using silk proteins has found a way around the need to keep cold, and could mean drugs that stay usable at high temperature for months — if not years — at a…