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Friday, 27 April 2007

Spider-man suit "a decade away"

An article in New Scientist proposes that the age of the arachnid-inspired vigilante may be closer than we think...
IMAGINE owning your own Spiderman suit, complete with gloves and boots to allow you to stick to walls, and even a sticky silk spinner to swing between buildings. That might be a step closer to reality, thanks to Nicola Pugno at the Polytechnic University of Turin in Italy, who has come up with a scheme for an adhesive material and "spider silk" based on carbon nanotubes.
That just leaves the problem of swinging between buildings on Spiderman-style silk. Researchers can already spin metre-long carbon nanotube fibres (Science, vol 309, p 1215), and much longer ones should be possible, so Pugno proposes making a "cable" consisting of around 4 million nanotube fibres.
Stefano Mezzasalma at the University of Trieste in Italy says the approach could work. "The first prototype of a Spiderman suit might be ready in a decade or so."

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