A group of scientists has discovered that with the structure of a spider’s web music can be produced – and it sounds like nothing you’ve ever heard before.
At their most basic form, spider webs are spun to protect eggs and hunt prey. The result is usually a classic silk orb style that is tough in structure and sticky at the touch. But according to scientists, there is a hidden use for these 3D structures and it involves sound.
They found that it was possible to translate spider webs into actual music which they claim could be enormous for advancements in 3D printing and even cross-species communication.
Markus Buehler, PhD at MIT, and also the main investigator of the project said that a large part of why they’ve been able to do this is through the vibrations in the strings. Spiders don’t see very well, therefore, they are required to use these vibrations to gauge a “sense of their world”. This can include the stretching of the silk while the web is being built, trapped insects moving about, and even gusts of wind.
All of these occurrences contain different frequencies, and Buehler, being quite interested in music, was curious to see if rhythms and melodies could be extracted from them.
“Webs could be a new source for musical inspiration that is very different from the usual human experience,” he says.
So, the team got to work.
They started by assigning different frequencies of sound to different strands of the web. They combined these “notes” based on the structure to make melodies. All that was left was to pair them with a harp-like sound and you have something that resembles music, albeit otherworldly. What’s so interesting about the harp sound is that the sounds change throughout, reflecting how the spider builds the web. Almost as if listeners are being guided and transported into the spider’s world.
With this knowledge, Buehler claims that inroads can be made into how we operate 3D printing in the future, and could even lead to us being able to communicate with spiders! Maybe one day we’ll finally be able to tell spiders to stop living in the corners of our rooms!
In the meantime, listen to the sound the web produced:
Let us know your thoughts in the comments.