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.
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.
Researchers have turned dead spiders into necrobotic grippers capable of lifting items that weigh more than 100 times their own body weight. pic.twitter.com/GHYaJSXF5H
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 28, 2022
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.