Engineers discover that dead spiders are great at gripping things

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Researchers at Rice University think they’ve stumbled onto a new “material”Grips mechanics

The idea came about when they saw a dead spider lying in a hallway. They noticed that it was curled up. This got them thinking about spider legs.

“So we’re referring to these as ‘necrobotic’ grippers. We’re calling it ‘necrobotics’ because we’re using these basically dead objects, the dead spiders in this case, but it can be any kind of biotic materials,” Daniel Preston with Rice University, said.

The engineering team says it was able to recreate this curling or gripping motion in a dead spider with a syringe and air, and they were surprised how well it worked on their first try.

“I don’t even know how to describe it. That moment when you see it move, it’s a little weird. At first you’re like is it dead? Because it moves so lifelike,” Faye Yap, a graduate student at Rice University, said.

They say the possibilities for this technology could be far-reaching.

“Our biceps and triceps work together to extend and flex our elbow joints. When you think of spiders, you will see that they have flexor muscle which will move their joints and other appendages towards the body. But they don’t have extensors, and instead they do that with hydraulic pressure that they generate inside of the main cavity or chamber of their body,” Preston added.

If you think it’s a little macabre, maybe you shouldn’t. For a long time, humans have used dead animals.  

“I guess this concept is not really new because we’ve already been using like leather from animals to make like clothing and shoes and bags and even wool from sheep. And so this is kind of this even more straightforward way, we kind of just take the animal itself and use it as a ready to use material,”Yarp was added.

Engineers are already working on ways to use necrobotics. You don’t have to be an arachnophobe.

 

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