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Scientists recently turned dead spiders into useful – and very macabre – mechanical grippers to grab objects, Science Alert reported.
This feat came about after a research team decided to test whether dead wolf spiders could be used as a robotics component – something they described as “necrorobotics.”
They explained in a new paper that spider legs lack muscle extensions. Instead, the arachnids move them via hydraulic pressure: The eight-legged critters have a prosoma chamber – or cephalothorax – which contracts, sending inner body fluid into their legs to extend them.
To make the croaked arachnids’ legs move, the team stuck a needle into their prosoma chamber and created a seal around the tip of the needle with super glue. They then squeezed a little puff of air through the syringe that activated the spider’s legs, achieving a full range of motion in less than one second.
Although the experiments resemble a horror movie, they showed that the necrobot’s legs had a solid grip. And the dead spider could grip a variety of objects, including a jumper wire attached to an electric breadboard and even another spider.
The researchers noted that the dead spiders could prove sustainable in the future because they are biodegradable and would cut the amount of waste in robotics.
“The concept of necrobotics proposed in this work takes advantage of unique designs created by nature that can be complicated or even impossible to replicate artificially,” the authors said.