Dead Spiders Being Used As Claw Machines
Dead spiders aren’t something we like to see. I mean, they are usually better than living spiders, but most of us will discard a dead spider as soon as possible. But not the researchers at Rice University. Scientists there have been working on something called “necrobotics”. “Necro” being the prefix meaning relating to a corpse. As in necromancer or necrophobia. And of course “botics” as in robotics. Put them together and what do you get? A dead spider robot. No, I’m not kidding. Smithsonian Magazine recently released an article talking about this latest work in robotic technology. The unique way a spider is built makes it the perfect candidate for this kind of manipulation. What researchers are doing is sticking a syringe needle into the body cavity of a dead spider. When air is injected, the spider’s legs open. When air is extracted, they close. This ability to maneuver the dead spiders’ limbs is being used to create a gripper of sorts. Spiders can lift more than their own body weight. So being able to lower a dead spider into a small space and manipulate the legs this way makes it possible to pick up and lift objects.
Nope. Still not kidding. You can see it here for yourself from Rice University‘s YouTube page.
Did you just impulsively brush off your leg like there was a spider on there? You’re not alone. This is Arachnophobia kind of creepy. So what is this technology used for? Besides a back-up plan for when you lose your tweezers and have a splinter. Scientists are hopeful that these new dead spider robots can be used in all kinds of applications. Including collecting specimens from nature without disturbing it unnecessarily. Also possible is using these little guys in assemblies of microelectronics. The possibilities are vast and scientists are excited.
Let’s just hope they don’t have an affinity for making human robots this way.
–Wendy Rush, 96.3KKLZ Las Vegas