Recently, it was revealed that researchers at Rice University have found a way to manipulate a dead spider’s legs and use it as a robotic gripper. They are calling this new field “Necrobotics”.
It all started when Assistant Professor Daniel Preston and his research group of mechanical engineers found a dead spider in the lab and began to wonder why spiders’ legs curled up when they die.
They discovered that spiders’ legs are forced extended through hydraulic pressure and when a spider dies, it loses this ability which resulted in the legs curling. In engineer speak, that would mean the spider’s legs “are normally curl”, or curl by default.
So by introducing and removing air in the spider, it turned into an organic pneumatic gripper, allowing it to pick up small items. Well, small items to us but the wolf spiders that were used in the test were able to lift more than 130% of their own body weight.
Images: Rice University.
via Gigazine [JP].