Translating a spider’s web into music, it’s possible!

Spiders can’t see very well, so they rely on touch to perceive the world around them. However, thanks to their paws covered with tiny hairs and slits, they can distinguish different types of vibrations. Each interaction with the canvas produces a unique vibratory clamor. The presence of a prey, for example, produces a different vibration from that of another spider. Each strand produces a different sound.

A few years ago, scientists translated the three-dimensional structure of a spider’s web into music. They worked with artist Tomás Saraceno to create Spider’s Canvas, an interactive musical instrument. They then added a component of reality Virtual interactive to allow people interact with the web.

This research would help to better understand architecture three-dimensional of the spider’s web. Apart from that, it could help us learn the language vibratory spiders.

A 3D structure created by a dedicated algorithm

Most spider webs are constructed of three dimensions. To explore the structure of these types of webs, the team housed a tropical tent-web spider (Cyrtophora citricola) in a rectangular enclosure and waited for her to fill it with a three-dimensional canvas. They then used a sheet laser to create high-definition images of 2D cross-sections of the canvas. Thanks to this, a architecture in 3D was reconstructed using a algorithm specially developed for the experiment.

To make music out of it, frequencies sound different were assigned to each strand. The notes thus generated were played in patterns based on the structure of the canvas. They also scanned a canvas as it was spun, translating each step of the process into music. The grades change depending on the structure of the canvas and the listener can hear the process of its construction.

Thanks to the step-by-step process recording, we can better understand how spiders build a 3D web without structures of support.

They learn the language of the spider thanks to virtual reality

The researchers said that the reality Virtual allows users to enter and player strands of canvas.

“The virtual reality environment is really intriguing because your ears will pick up structural features that you might see without immediately recognizing them. By hearing it and seeing it at the same time, you can really begin to understand the environment the spider lives in. »

Mr. Buehler

Virtual reality allows researchers to better to understand the environment in which the spider lives and what happens when they change certain parts of the web. It also helps to to understand architecture of a spider’s web and why it is constructed that way.

This work enabled the team to develop an algorithm can identify types of vibrations spider’s web (trapped prey, web under construction, etc.). According to the team, this is just a basic study to learn how to speak the spider, at least the tropical tent spider.


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