By grafting spider silk between the epidermis and dermis, the skin was able to stop a bullet that was fired at a reduced speed. However, it failed to repel a bullet that was fired at normal speed from a .22 calibre rifle.
But that's fine with Essaidi. She's more interested in the conversation that her project will generate.
"With this work I want to show that safety in its broadest sense is a relative concept, and hence the term bulletproof," Essaidi said in a press release. "The work did stop some partially slowed bullets but not the one at full speed."
"But even with the skin pierced by the bullet the experiment is still a success. It leads to the conversation about how which form of safety would benefit society."
The project is part of an exhibition called Designers & Artists 4 Genomics at the Naturalis biodiversity museum in Leiden, Netherlands. The exhibit runs until Jan. 8, 2012.
photo: A bullet is repelled by a matrix of spider silk and human skin cells. Forensic Genomics Consortium of the Netherlands