As moviegoers flock to another round of Peter Parker and his webslinging antics in The Amazing Spider-Man, Notre Dame professor Malcolm Fraser is focusing on spider silk in a slightly different way: He's making it.
Well, that's not entirely true. He's actually using silkworms.
According to a story by NBC Chicago reporter Scott Ross, Professor Fraser has continued research on spider silk's spectacular tensile properties by producing it with genetically modified silkworms.
As you can probably guess from watching any of the Spiderman movies (The Daily Domer is more of a Tobey Maguire fan), spider silk is flexible but fantastically strong. Hence, it's pretty darn useful - in this case, a spider-silk suit could help absorb dangerous shrapnel in battle.
Fraser has been able to genetically modify silkworms, which are predictably more docile and less creepy than most arachnids, so they produce silk that's pretty close to spider-like.
Check out Ross's excellent article to learn about more spider silk research - and why Spiderman's web-shooter is a long way off.