Markus Buehler is an engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Looking at a spider’s web, he thought it looked like a harp and he wanted to play it.
With his team, they used artificial intelligence to create a spider’s web on a three-dimensional and color screen, but also the sound of the vibrations of this virtual web. To achieve this, they first scanned a real spider web with a laser then they used algorithms to reconstruct the web in 3D and they assigned a frequency of sound to each thread of the web to create notes of music.
Spiders are almost blind, they perceive the world through vibrations, their web is like a giant vibration receiver. MIT researchers recorded the vibrations of the web during the various activities of the spider: when it builds its web, when it communicates with other spiders, when it sends courtship signals or when a prey is taken to the trap.
These researchers created a machine learning algorithm that classified the sounds of the spider’s different activities. Now they are trying to generate synthetic signals to speak the spider’s language, to interact with it. We have a lot to learn from this creature who manages to create from scratch with simple silk threads a complex construction. It’s a 3D printer all by itself!