We've seen plenty of attempts to mimic spiders in robot-form, but that's not the only bit of inspiration arising from our eight-legged friends, with a number of other researchers also doing their best to artificially replicate the way a spider spins silk. Now, according to the BBC, it seems that a team from the Technical University of Munich has made some significant progress on that front, which could one day lead to a new means of manufacturing strong but lightweight materials. Specifically, the team created a "device" consisting of three channels etched into a piece of glass, which allows for different combinations protein and salts to be mixed together and extruded as a fiber. They are quick to point out, however, that the resulting fiber is not of "particularly high quality," and that while it's a step forward, the whole idea is still "a very big puzzle and there are many pieces missing."

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Researchers tout progress in spinning artificial spider silk