That’s where a Japan-based biotech firm Spiber comes in. The company has been successful in creating a manufacturing process that allows it to mass produce synthetic versions of spider silk while still keeping its attractive properties. North Face took notice of Spiber’s work, and the two companies recently collaborated on a new jacket called the “Moon Parka,” a prototype of which is now being shown at events across Japan.
Spiber uses microbes to produce the synthetic silk for the jacket. The microbes produce special proteins, which Spiber then purifies until they becomes a powder. From there, the powder is squeezed through syringes to be spun into threads, according to Popular Science.
A total of 656 different microbe variations help to process and produce the final textile, which Spiber has dubbed Qmonos — the Japanese for spider web. By using microbes to produce Qmonos, Spiber is also addressing another chief complaint of the textile industry: its notorious pollution problem. With a microbe-centric production process, the company believes it can avoid using toxic chemicals that are harmful to the environment.
The Moon Parka is only the beginning, though. About 250 different thread types of Qmonos will be available when the textile becomes commercially available next year, Spiber says. An exact date for the release of the jacket is not yet known, but it’s expected to come out some time in 2016.
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