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Scientists Reanimate Dead Spider and It’s As Creepy As it Sounds

Wolf Spider

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Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is the go-to classic story that describes the troubles that can arise with reanimating dead things. But here we are, 204 years later and we still haven’t learned our lesson.


Reanimated spiders are called Necrobotic Grippers

Researchers at Texas’ George R. Brown School of Engineering at Rice University have discovered a way to reanimate the corpse of a wolf spider to act as a claw machine of sorts that can lift more than 130% of its own weight.

Wolf Spidey

These “necrobots,” as the scientists call them, are created quite simply.

A small puff of air injected into the spider’s body is what causes the arachnid’s legs to expand and contract. Because a wolf spider is a natural gripper with microscopic hairs on its legs that can already hold on to something 100 times its weight (when alive), these researchers decided it would be the best candidate for their experiment.


The project began when the team wanted to figure out why a spider’s legs contact so tightly when they die. They discovered that the little legs work much like a hydraulic system that closes up when pressure is relieved. So to simulate the reverse effect, they used a puff of air to fill those tiny spider muscles.


How can this be used for good and not evil?

Despite the fact that this is super creepy, you can just imagine the possibilities. Science has previously focused on recreating animal and insect features that allowed for miraculous physics and engineering feats, but with the use of reanimated corpses, research can progress to new heights.

The team says that this type of research could help improve repetitive tasks like small-scale sorting or the assembly of microelectronics. And as an added bonus, the spider corpses would biodegrade, which would eliminate a “big waste stream, which can be a problem with more traditional components.”

Also, this is how the zombie spider apocalypse starts.

[Via: Ripley’s]

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Shawn has been infatuated with the post-apocalyptic genre since he wore out his horribly American-dubbed VHS of the original Mad Max as a child. Shawn is the former Editor-in-Chief at Joystiq's Massively.com, creator of the Aftermath post-apocalyptic immersion event, and host of the Through the Aftermath podcast for over 11 years. He currently resides on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere with his wife and four children.

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