Spiders

  • If robots are ever going to work alongside humans in the real world, they're going to need a softer touch. Harvard researchers have developed a new method for producing small-scale squishy robots, and demonstrated it by creating a flexible robotic peacock spider, driven by a microfluidics system.
  • Science
    It’s long been thought that spiders were "ballooning" on silk parachutes thanks to the wind picking them up, but a new study has found that the creatures are actually making use of atmospheric electric fields instead.
  • Spider silk has long held the title of strongest natural biomaterial. Now, researchers at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology have developed a new biomaterial out of wood nanofibers that steals the strength record.
  • Science
    Scientists have discovered a brand new species of spider, with a feature that’s not normally seen in the creatures – a tail. If that’s making your skin crawl, take solace in the fact that the new arachnid, dubbed Chimerarachne, lived 100 million years ago and its remains were found trapped in amber.
  • Spider silk is among the strongest known materials. While some researchers are pursuing synthetic spider silk, scientists at MIT have taken another approach … they've devised a method of using silkworm silk to produce fibers that are almost as stiff as spider silk.
  • Science
    ​The ultra-fine nature of spider silk has provided inspiration for scientists developing sensitive new types of microphones. Further down the track, these new devices could be put to use in advanced hearing aids and phones that pick up sounds at much lower frequencies.
  • ​Natural spider silk is already amazingly strong stuff, plus scientists have developed synthetic versions of the material. Now, however, researchers have split the difference – they've created silk that comes from spiders, but that has added man-made ingredients which give it extra strength.
  • ​​So far as nature's wonder materials go, spider silk is right up there. Now scientists have uncovered another exciting application for it, using it to bridge the gap between severed nerves that would otherwise struggle to be repaired.​
  • Peter Parker take note, architects and chemists at the University of Cambridge have come up with an artificial spider silk that is strong, super-stretchy, non-toxic and sustainable, yet is made from a material that is 98 percent water.
  • A peptide found in the venom of the Australian funnel-web spider has been shown to reduce the brain damage that occurs in the hours following a stroke, with early preclinical studies involving rats having delivered extremely promising results.
  • Some larger types might opt for a lizard or even a frog, but the great majority of spiders love to eat insects. So much so, that the world's spiders consume somewhere between 400 and 800 million of biomass each year consisting almost entirely of creep crawlies, a new study has shown.
  • ​The American brown recluse spider is already known for being one of the most venomous arachnids on the planet. It turns out, however, that the spider also has very strong silk. Scientists have recently discovered the secret of that strength, and believe that it could have practical applications.