Dead spiders reanimated into creepy ‘necrobots’

The ‘necrobot’ spider is used to lift a component of an electrical circuit. (Image credit: Preston Innovation Laboratory/Rice University)

(opens in a new tab)

Taking the lifeless body of a dead spider and reanimating it as a robot is an idea that would give most people nightmares. But scientists aren’t most people. Recently, a team of researchers returned the corpses of wolf spiders in arcade-style claw machines that could pick up and move a variety of objects, including other dead wolf spiders.

The idea for mechanized arachnid claws, or “necrobots,” originated when researchers noticed a dead spider curled up in a ball in a corner of their engineering lab. After researching why the legs of dead spiders always seem to be pulled firmly towards their abdomens, scientists learned that the spiders’ joints were controlled by a hydraulic pressure system that fails when the arachnids die. The team then realized that they could reverse engineer this hydraulic system to hijack the spider’s corpse and give it a second life as a machine.

Leave a Comment