We are constantly learning from the natural world which has so much to teach us. This is perfectly illustrated.
It explains how scientists at Rice University in Texas have discovered how to use dead spiders as a raw material for tiny robotic grippers.
New Tiny Grippers Using Dead Spiders
It all started when the scientists contemplated why dead spiders curl up into a ball. They discovered that spiders do not have antagonistic muscle pairs as we do. When we bend and unbend our arms, we are using our biceps and triceps muscles in turn. The triceps contract as we straighten our arms and the biceps contract as we bend our arms.
In spiders, however, the mechanism is completely different. They have flexor muscles which curl up their legs, but they don’t have any muscles to straighten them. This is because they use hydraulic pressure instead. They generate this pressure inside the main cavity of their body. By inserting a tiny needle into the spider’s body and exerting pressure, the scientists were able to open up the dead spider’s legs. As the pressure is released, the legs contract and can pick up tiny objects. They have been given the name ‘necrobotic’ grippers because they are using a dead body to make a gripper!
The future use for this sort of technology could be for micro-manipulation as part of the micro-electronics industry. Whilst it might seem a little macabre, there are some vital advantages to this approach. It reduces waste because the grippers are completely biodegradable.
Five Interesting Spider Facts
Spiders are fascinating creatures and even when they are not participating in experiments like this, they have a lot to interest us. Here are five fascinating spider facts that you may not have known.
- Spiders have exceptional eyesight. Some species can see light spectrums that we cannot – including both UVA and UVB light.
- We all know that tarantulas have hair, but did you know that they were capable of throwing it at predators? They can release their tiny hairs in a similar way to a porcupine releasing its quills as a defense mechanism.
- Some spiders hunt and some weave webs to capture prey. Others can go fishing by making a net to scoop up prey.
- Spider web silk is a super strong substance – it is actually stronger than steel.
- Some spiders have eight eyes, some have six eyes, and some have even fewer but they always have an even number!
See the Incredible Clip Below
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