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The Scientist

An Arachnid Symphony

Scientists at MIT translate a spider web into music. 

Spiders don't see very well so they sense their surrounding through vibrations. They wait for prey to wander into their webs, and vibrate the silk stands like guitar strings. Researchers wondered what this sounded like so they introduced an algorithm that turns spider web vibrations into a digital stringed instrument. 

Scientists used the tropical tent-web spider to create a 3-dimensional (3-D) digital web. Once the spider had created its web, the researchers scanned the web with lasers, creating two-dimensional  slices, to compile into a 3-D image. The follow up with algorithms to analyze the frequencies of the original strings within the web, ultimately translated it into audible music, though not beautiful music. The findings were presented this week at the American Chemical Society meeting. 

To get an idea of what spiders sound like, check out the story in The Scientist.