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CREEPY: Engineers Turn Dead Spiders into Robotic 'Claws'

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Throughout these early years of the 21st century, there have been plenty of times that we’ve turned to each other and wondered whether or not science had gone too far.  The latest news from Rice University has us wondering the same thing once again.

That’s because researchers there have committed a creepy and unnerving new experiment in which dead spiders are being used as “claws”…and they have captured it all on video.

A team of engineers from Rice University devised a way to transform the bodies of dead spiders into robotic claws akin to those seen in the classic arcade game. According to a press release, the macabre feat was accomplished by researchers at the university’s Preston Innovation Laboratory and came about in a rather serendipitous fashion. “We were moving stuff around in the lab and we noticed a curled up spider at the edge of the hallway,” graduate student Faye Yap recalled, “we were really curious as to why spiders curl up after they die.” Upon looking into the phenomenon, they learned that spiders control their joints using hydraulics, which led the team to search for “a way to leverage this mechanism.”

And yes, it’s just as wild as you think:

The engineers ultimately figured out that they could insert a needle into the part of the dead spider’s body which had previously regulated the creature’s internal hydraulics when it was alive. From there, they found that they could control the insect’s legs by simply delivering a puff of air into the system. Testing the ability of the ‘necrobots,’ as they dubbed the reanimated spiders, the team was able to move various objects and operate a circuit board. Amazingly, the team also ran one experiment wherein they opened and closed a dead spider’s legs a whopping 1,000 times and the bug’s body only showed a minor amount of attrition from the exercise.

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Those involved in the ridiculous experiment have suggested that there could be “real-world” applications for the discovery…besides creating nightmare fuel, that is.

You can see some of the results of their work below, but don’t say we didn’t warn you.


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About the Author:
As a lifelong advocate for the dream promised us in the Constitution, Andrew West has spent his years authoring lush prose editorial dirges regarding America's fall from grace and her path back to prosperity. When West isn't railing against the offensive whims of the mainstream media or the ideological cruelty that is so rampant in the US, he spends his time seeking adventurous new food and fermented beverages, with the occasional round of golf peppered in.