Necrobotics (Yep, You Read That Right)

Written by on November 4, 2023

Necrobotics (Yup, You Read That Right) – Story by Liam Sweeny.

Yesterday, I said Halloween was over. But is anything ever really over? I don’t care; this story is pretty damn wild.

We love spiders. We literally have a superhero named Spider Man. But yet we hate spiders. They freak us out. One of the most commonly known phobias is arachnophobia, fear of spiders. If you find one in the house, depending upon who you are, you are likely to either leave one alone or smash it with your boot (or get someone else to do it.)

What you wouldn’t do, probably, is pick up a dead spider and give it to science for reanimation. But that’s just what engineering student Faye Yap and lab owner Daniel Preston would like people to do.

It’s called ‘necrobotics.’ Seriously, this is wild. So a spider has an amazing ability to grip things, like really fine, delicate things. It can also grip 130% of its own weight. And when spiders die, their legs curl up (sure you noticed) because they don’t have what are known as ‘antagonistic muscle pairs.’ We have those, basically one set of muscles to bend a joint one way, a different set to bend it the opposite way. Yeah, spiders don’t have any of that.

If you blow compressed air is a spider’s body, you can reanimate their blood and use it for hydraulics to maneuver the arm.

This doesn’t often happen in science, where an animal part can be used in robotics. Bird feathers can, in some cases. But a damn spider? They say it works better than a fabricated claw, and you can just throw it away when you don’t need it and it’ll decompose because that’s its path in life.

Do they want your spiders? No, not at all. They have plenty of their own arachnids. But when you see that little creepy crawler up in the corner of your living room wall, know that he has cousins that are working beyond their deaths. And you know what? Don’t kill spiders. They eat other bugs. They’re your friends.


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