A group of mad scientists “resurrected” dead spiders with syringes and glue, and turned into master electricians in seconds after turning into zombie robots

Spiders fall from the sky, pass through infrared-dense scenes, and steal gems. This kind of scene in science fiction movies has recently become possible.


If I tell you, using some small props, even elementary school students can revive dead spiders to achieve a scene similar to a sci-fi movie, are you excited?

Recently, a group of crazy researchers from Rice University in the United States successfully transformed a dead spider into a robotic gripper, also known as a spider manipulator, through a syringe and glue.

The reincarnated spider robot retains its “weightlifting champion” ability to lift 130 percent of its body weight and withstand nearly 1,000 opening and closing cycles.

In the lab, spider manipulators are used to rescue trapped companions. (doge)


Become a master electrician.


Or even play the ruthless robot hand grabbing items in the assembly line.


After reading so much, the big guys must be itching to make a spider manipulator by themselves~

How to make a spider manipulator?

To make a spider manipulator is a very simple matter, we only need to prepare three items: spider*1, cyanoacrylate glue (502 glue is enough)*1, syringe*1.


There are only two steps involved: 1. Euthanize the spider; 2. Install the syringe onto the spider through glue and form an airtight seal.

The core principle is to convert the power system of the spider from the original hydraulic drive to the pneumatic drive provided by the syringe.


Simply put, this core principle is a bit like blowing up a balloon. When we insert the needle into the spider and push the piston to deliver the gas in the syringe into the spider, it is equivalent to blowing air into the balloon, and withdrawing the syringe is equivalent to sucking the gas back into the balloon. The glue is used to fix the syringe and prevent air leakage.

After understanding the principle, let us officially enter the first step of making a spider manipulator. Euthanize the spider to get an intact spider corpse.


The laboratory personnel achieved spider euthanasia by exposing the spider to a low temperature environment of -4°C for 5 to 7 days, and obtained the spider curled up like the picture. The spider carcasses obtained in this way were confirmed to be the current best solution under the scanning electron microscope.

Step 2: Use glue to fix the syringe on the surface of the spider body and achieve air-tight sealing.


Here, we inserted the needle into the position close to the forelimb. This position is the position where the hydraulic pressure is generated when the spider moves before it is alive, and it is also the place where the exoskeleton is relatively rigid.


The next step is to drip the glue onto the needle, let it flow naturally to the surface of the spider under the action of gravity and form a half moon beach. After that, let it stand for 10 minutes, and after the glue is fixed, you can get one that belongs to the spider. My own spider manipulator.

At this step, those who feel that their hands are disabled and are worried about shaking hands can use ordinary A4 paper to practice first, because the surface of A4 paper is as rough as the surface of a spider.


Through the thrilling 10 minutes above, you are also a bio-modifier. A spider manipulator whose claws are closed under normal conditions and opened when there is air pressure is ready.


Before you break the spider manipulator into the above, let us first understand the properties of the spider manipulator we made to prevent it from being accidentally tossed.

If you and the laboratory team use the same spider to make the manipulator, then the manipulator you have is likely to be similar to the data measured by the experimental group. You can refer to these data to understand the general usage scenarios of the manipulator you made.


First of all, in order to prevent too much force, the spider manipulator will be damaged. Friends can understand that the typical pressure of the legs of the tarantula used in the experiment is 4.0kPa to 6.1kPa when it is alive, so it is not advisable to force a miracle when pushing down the syringe, otherwise it will be like blowing up a balloon. Blow up the spider~


In terms of gripping force, as mentioned at the beginning, the spider used for the experiment is the Hercules “tarantula” in the spider world, and its gripping force ranges from 0.02 mN to 0.35 mN, which can be understood by small partners as it You can catch a cephalosporin~

Secondly, the body mass of the spider in the experiment is 33.5 mg, but it can grab another spider companion whose mass is 1.34 times that of itself, and its weight-lifting ability is very high.


When encountering a foam block that is much larger than 2.6 times its own volume, the spider’s gripper can easily pick it up, and the cilia on the spider’s legs provide great help.

If the type of spider you use to make the spider robot is different from the type used by the researcher, you can learn about the relationship between the spider mass and its strength through another small study by the researcher, and it is convenient to understand the strength attributes of different spider types.


From an analysis of the data, the experimenters predicted that “smaller spiders can carry more than their body weight.”

In the experiment’s reference subject, a jumping spider with a mass of 25mg would be able to exert a gripping force that exceeds 200% of its own weight, um, a few small coins. In contrast, the Goliath bird-eating tarantula of the Theraphosidae family, which has a mass of 200 grams, can only grasp an object that is about 10 percent of its own weight, or about the weight of four eggs.

Just like machinery in a factory needs regular maintenance to prolong its life. The spider manipulator also needs to be maintained to increase its service life.


During the service life test, the researchers found that after 1000 cycles of opening and closing of the spider manipulator, due to the dehydration of the body after the death of the spider, with the decrease of body water, the patellofemoral joint of the spider’s legs lost lubrication and began to suffer mechanical fractures.

At present, researchers can reduce the loss of water from the spider’s body by applying beeswax to the body. The coated spiders lost 17% less water over 10 days than the uncoated spiders. It seems that it is also necessary to lubricate the joints regularly to reduce water loss, and to develop new coatings to prolong the life of the spider robot.

Let the spider manipulator move by itself

So far, we have basically learned how to make a spider manipulator. Regarding how the spider manipulator can help us, the researchers proposed to install an intelligent system on the spider manipulator to realize the function of the spider manipulator to automatically grip objects, and finally allow it to participate in outdoor biological research.

Following the researchers’ ideas, we might as well try to tinker with these spider manipulators and see how to modify the spider manipulators to meet the researchers’ ideas.

First of all, in order for the spider to have the function of automatic clamping, we need to prepare the following things:


Sensor: used to assist positioning

Modified syringe: it is actually a miniature cylinder, and the self-piston movement of the syringe is realized through the signal of the relay

A single-chip microcomputer: install a brain for the spider and tell the spider where the robot should go

Mobile bracket: let the spider have the ability to move in the three-dimensional space of the X/Y/Z axis

Then, the editor also simply found some materials and put them together. Finally, the spider manipulator made by the editor is like the picture below.


Well, it’s actually quite good to use it as a doll machine. Friends can use this thing to have a big PK with a homemade spider manipulator to see whose manipulator can catch more dolls within the specified time.


Of course, a more rigorous modification can turn the spider manipulator into a manipulator in the factory assembly line, and friends can make up the manipulator brain in the animation into a spider.

After all, most of the inspiration for the manipulators we use now also comes from spiders, and this time, the ancestors of the manipulators came into battle in person.

Drawing on the idea of ​​​​the factory assembly line manipulator, we successfully made the spider manipulator have the function of automatically grasping objects. When I wanted to implement the researchers’ next idea, to modify the spider manipulator so that it could camouflage into the wild to assist in research, I found that the above set of equipment seemed too bulky.


If you want to design a sophisticated intelligent system integrated into the spider manipulator, the current manufacturing industry seems to be unable to meet the demand. Our current manufacturing industry is generally good at making big guys. When we need to make micro things, there are many aspects that need to be broken through. Among them, assembly is a big stumbling block.

It’s as if we let the robotic arm lift a grain of salt, that’s impossible. But the editor suddenly thought of spiders to lift a grain of salt, it seems to be feasible again? When I thought of this, the editor realized that since the above modification can allow the spider manipulator to participate in the production line, why not use the spider manipulator to provide services for the modified spider robot?


The emergence of the spider manipulator seems to have opened another door to the manufacturing industry that has been hovering at the door of micro-processing for many years.

The reason is that the spider itself is small enough that it provides a new direction for micro-processing in the current manufacturing industry. With the help of research on spider manipulators, micro-pneumatic manipulators are produced to realize the assembly of small parts.


[Image source: Bilibili owner: Hu Que Custom]

According to records, the smallest known spider in the world is the cast spider, which is about 0.43 mm in length, which is smaller than the period in print. If it is successfully retrofitted into a spider manipulator, it will be possible to build devices as small as 0.01mm.

It may sound fantastic, like where to find such a small cylinder? Don’t worry about this, humans can process micron-level things, but we lack the equipment that can freely move and assemble them in the face of these small objects. The emergence of spider manipulators provides the possibility of operating extremely small things.


Maybe one day, this spider intelligent system is developed, and then someone DIYs it into an intelligent spider machine, just like the ants in this animation, to pick up a diamond, it seems not bad.

Spider manipulator can still play like this

Of course, the construction of the spider robot above is far from us. We can also do some interesting things with normal spider manipulators.


For example, like the toy hand above, we can use the spider manipulator to achieve “contactless going out” in the epidemic era, although there is a high probability that it will become a strange flower in the eyes of passers-by and a strange uncle in the eyes of neighbor children.

At present, there are more than 40,000 species of spiders discovered by humans, and there are many spiders with unique skills. For example, fishing spiders that can float on water, and sea spiders that can walk freely in the depths of the sea. These spiders can all help us do some interesting things with simple modifications.

seabed probe


We all know that the ocean occupies 70% of the earth’s area, but human exploration of the ocean is less than 5%. Ordinary submarines may start to flatten when they dive to a depth of 1,500 meters, but the strange creatures such as sea spiders can move freely on the seabed at 3,600 meters.

In the past, we used super-dense metal to carry the pressure, and the cost was too high. When watching BBC documentaries, we often see researchers disguising cameras as various animals, so that they can perfectly camouflage into the group being observed.

Now we can try to turn our attention to sea spiders. After some modification, a small thruster is installed at the tail of the spider to give it the ability to move after death, and a detector is installed on its head. From the perspective of observing the underwater world, and even collecting underwater materials.

spider fishing rod


Fishing spiders are natural fishing adepts. They can stand on the water by relying on the hair on their legs without even needing a bait. Only by shaking their legs, fishing spiders can attract fish. Then, by modifying the fishing spider, you can get the experimental results to participate in the field experiments as expected by the laboratory personnel.


In the same way, we have the same method as before. This time, we replaced the hook of the fishing rod with a fishing spider, and then installed sensors on its body to detect fish in the water, while arming the spider’s claws to sharpen them. When the fish is close to the spider, the sensor receives the signal, and the pneumatic switch is automatically closed to complete the fishing process. emmm, isn’t the process a bit lacking in scientific research? But the goal is accomplished.

Born from thinking about the death of spiders

The birth of the spider manipulator stemmed from a thought by the author Te Faye Ya when he moved out of the laboratory. While moving out of the lab, Te Faye Ya found a dead spider and raised the question of why the spider’s body curled up when it died. It eventually evolved to resurrect dead spiders into spider manipulators. The inspiration for inventions often comes from the details of our lives that we ignore.

The research on spider manipulators is a rare and valuable experience for the research and development of manipulators, and it is also an extraordinary adventure for biology. We can also use 3D printing technology to restore the spider’s body to promote research in the field of soft robotics,

Even now, the scientific research results of spider manipulators will be limited to laboratory scenarios at present or in the next few years, but from making aircraft with reference to dragonflies to inventing submarines inspired by fish, to improving manipulators inspired by spiders. Bionics plays a vital role in the development of human scientific and technological civilization.

Maybe one day, spider manipulators and spider robots will really come to us, and now is when we witness the beginning of this miracle.


At present, the scientific research team of the University of Leicester has published this research in “Advanced Science”, and interested friends can also go to further understanding.

Paper link: https://ift.tt/lyxFPs5


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