This looks like something out of a horror film. Dead spiders have been transformed into robots by mechanical engineers!
Engineers repurposed dead spiders in a new study to function as mechanical grippers that can blend into natural habitats while scooping up objects that outweigh them. These zombie spiders are known as “necrobotics.”
“It happens that the spider, once dead, is the right architecture for tiny scale, organically derived grippers,” says Daniel Preston, of Rice’s George R. Brown School of Engineering, in a university announcement.
Preston and his colleagues used atypical materializes for their soft robotic systems somewhat of hard plastics, metals, and electronics.
“We get to explore previously untapped sorts of actuation and materials in this domain of soft robotics, which is a lot of fun.” This is where the spider comes into play. “It’s something that hasn’t been used before but has a lot of potentials,” says the researcher.
Watch the video here:
A spider can grip heavy materials with tiny legs because “a spider extends each leg by actively contracting muscles in the prosoma (cephalothorax) to increase its internal hydraulic pressure.”
The researchers have recently highlighted in a report that the concept of necrobotics represents a considerable step forward in robotics.
“The necrobiotic concept suggested in this work takes advantage of unique designs provided by nature that can be difficult, if not impossible, to recreate mechanically,” they added.
The team created a dead spider grasp on a little ball. The experiment yielded a max grip force of 0.35 millinewtons.
One drawback to the dead spider gripper is that it starts to experience some wear and tear after two days or after 1,000 open-and-close cycles.