While the mere sight of a spider can make many of us jump off our skin, have you ever wondered what a spider web looks like? Well, a new study shows it might send a chill down your spine with its signature reverberant melody. Markus Buehler, an engineering professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and his team study cobwebs using artificial intelligence.
Reuters quoted Buehler in a report as saying that cobwebs can offer an orchestra of information – ranging from communication to construction.
Speaking of the almost eerie sound produced by the web, he said, “Spiders use vibrations to communicate with the environment, with other spiders.”
As part of the study, these spider vibrations were recorded. Then artificial intelligence was used to learn these vibrational patterns and associate them with certain actions, the professor said. “Basically learning the spider language,” he added.
Buehler and his team created 3D models of cobwebs. The models were based on different actions taken by the spiders, including building, repairing, hunting, and feeding. Once the team could identify the pattern in the spider signals, the sounds were recreated using mathematical algorithms and computers.
Describing the arachnid as being “a whole different animal,” Buehler said: “What they see or feel is not actually audible or visible to the human eye or the human ear. And so by transposing it, we start to experience that.
Buehler further explained the nuance behind the sound produced. “Melodies are really the kind of relationships the spider would experience as well. And so we can start to feel a bit like a spider that way, ”he said.
The professor added that the living structure of a spider’s web could lead to innovations in construction, maintenance and repair. “We can imagine creating a synthetic system that would mimic what the spider does to detect the web, fix the web,” he said.
Scientists say spider web silk is five times stronger than steel, the report adds.
Buehler and his team hope their work will help humans understand the language of spiders and communicate with them in the future.
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