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Listen to the haunting music that MIT scientists emit from the sounds of cobwebs


Coming soon at a music venue near you.

Amanda Kuzer / CNET

Spiders can̵

7;t see well, so they sense the world through the vibrations that swirl through their intricate webs as they stretch silk threads or blow a breeze. It turns out that these vibrations create some otherworldly music.

We know this thanks to the work of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who improved the 3D structure of cobwebs and shared the results online. You can listen to their spider soundtrack in the video below.

“Sounds like two things: 1. A slow version of the switched sound. 2. A composition by Yoko Ono,” one YouTube commentator said in response to the video.

The researchers, led by Marcus Buhler, a professor of engineering at MIT and a composer of experimental music, presented the results of their work Monday at the spring meeting of the American Chemical Society.

The team scans a cobweb with a laser during the construction of the natural structure, assigning different frequencies to the threads of the net to create “notes” that they combine into models based on the 3D shape of the net. Together, these notes generate melodies, which the researchers then play with an original harp-like instrument. As far as I know, the compositions have not yet been sold as NFT.

Buhler has long been interested in extracting sound from biological materials as another way to understand their basic science and mathematics. He had previously set the coronavirus to music.

A better understanding of how spiders build their webs step by step could lead to “imitation spiders” 3D printers that build complex microelectronics, Buhler hopes. “The way a spider” prints “the web is remarkable because it does not use maintenance materials, as is often the case with current 3D printing methods,” he said in a statement.

But the team also hopes the study can help people communicate with spiders in their own language, through synthetic signals. Scientists have recorded vibrations produced by spiders engaged in activities such as spinning in the web and communicating with fellow arachnids, including through courtship signals. A machine learning algorithm successfully classifies these sounds according to activities.

I just want to know when I can get tickets to see a spider at a concert.

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