Music from a spider web, have you ever heard of such a thing before? Well, in a unique invention, the structure of a spider web has been converted into music by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and may have various applications from improved 3D printers to cross-species connectivity and ethereal musical compositions.
Music from the spider
Talking about spider music Markus Buehler, lead author of the project said, “The spider lives in an environment of vibrating strings,” says Markus Buehler, lead author of the project.
“They don’t see very well, so they sense their world through vibrations, which have different frequencies.”
The vibrations tend to happen during the stretch of a silk strand by the spider while construction or when the movement while web moves after it has trapped the fly for example.
Buehler, a long-time music lover, imagined whether he could derive non-human rhythms and patterns from natural resources, such as music from a spider web.
“Webs could be a new source for musical inspiration that is very different from the usual human experience,” he says talking about spider music.
Scientists used a laser to collect 2D cross-sections of a natural spider web for the study and used computer algorithms to recreate the web’s 3D network.
The team allocated various sound frequencies to different web strands, resulting in “notes” that they merged in patterns dependent on the web’s 3D layout to produce music from a spider web.
The scientists then developed a harp-like instrument and held live performances of music from a spider web all over the world.
The team also created a virtual reality system that enables people to access the web visual and audio that creates music from a spider web.
“The virtual reality environment is intriguing because your ears are going to pick up structural features that you might see but not immediately recognise,” Buehler said.
He further added, “By hearing it and seeing it at the same time, you can start to understand the environment the spider lives in.”
The researchers have looked at how the sound of a web varies as it is subjected to various mechanical forces, such as stretching, in other experiments to explore more about spider music.
The researches group also wants to learn about spider speech in their language. They did this by recording web vibrations as spiders built their webs or communicated with one another.
“Now we’re trying to generate synthetic signals to speak the language of the spider,” Buehler says.
“If we expose them to certain patterns of rhythms or vibrations, can we affect what they do, and can we begin to communicate with them? Those are really exciting ideas.”