Shortly before the proverbial triceratops poop hits the fan in Jurassic Park, Jeff Goldblum’s character delivers a scathing indictment of the attraction while discussing the ethics of dinosaur resurrection with the man behind the spectacle during an exchange where he utters this iconic line:
“Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.”
Those words of wisdom that Ian Malcolm delivered apply to plenty of real-world situations, and I’ve personally deployed them fairly regularly when writing about a wide variety of bold experiments ranging from KFC’s decision to sell Crocs that smell like fried chicken to Boston Dynamics using dancing robots to attempt to distract from the dark future its technology seems poised to usher in.
However, I have to say a world overflowing with robot dogs with machine guns strapped to their backs sounds downright delightful compared to one teeming with the ungodly creation I may never be able to stop thinking about courtesy of researchers at Rice University who’ve figured out how to turn dead spiders into “necrobots.”
That unfortunate development was brought to my attention by Science Alert and concerns a study that was recently published in Advanced Science—one dreamed up by a team of undoubtedly brilliant minds that I can only imagine initially set out to determine which two-word combination is capable of striking the most fear into an average person before deciding the answer was “robot spiders.”
The team’s goal was to take a closer look at “spider-inspired devices” and examine the unique way the arachnids move; their legs are not controlled by muscles but rather the fluid that’s distributed through the body via a prosoma chamber, which is basically nature’s equivalent of a hydraulic system.
The scientists were able to successfully use air to manipulate the corpse of the wolf spiders used in the experiment and essentially transform them into zombie claw machines, which are three words I’m proud to say no one has written in succession in the history of the English language until now.
***WARNING: THIS VIDEO IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART***
The paper asserts the spiders could be used in place of more expensive and less readily available robots for various applications, so while I applaud them for their efforts, I’m still going to object to them on sheer principle.
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