Last week, Imperial College London hosted the International Student Innovation Awards. The winner astonished everyone with a violin made with spider silk.
Luca Alessandrini was awarded the £10,000 prize for the design of a biomaterial-based violin that can be engineered to customize the final sound. With the new funds and a patent filed, the designer is now looking for co-founders to launch a start-up and expects to reach the market by 2017.
The body of the instrument is mostly made of a blend of silk and resin. But the key for the violin’s unique sound, praised by expert luthiers and violin players, are three strands of Australian golden orb weaver silk placed under the bridge. This biomaterial is 5 times stronger than steel and incredibly elastic.
Material acoustics is a field with very few innovations and many instruments are still made from wood despite that it’s an expensive, heavy and unsustainable material. What’s more, wood is a very complex material and scientists still haven’t reached a consensus on what makes some instruments,