A Virtual Reality Music Instrument Built from a Spider’s Web

Credit: Pixabay

Researchers have turned the 3-D structure of a spider’s web into melodies, collaborating with artist Tomás Saraceno to develop Spider’s Canvas, an engaging musical tool.

The researchers then polished and expanded on their prior efforts, including the addition of a dynamic virtual reality element that enables users to access and play with the web. Not only can this study aid in their understanding of the three-dimensional design of a spider’s webbing, but it can also aid in our understanding of spiders’ vibrational speech, the scientists claim. Because they cannot see clearly, they detect their environment via tremors of varying speeds.

To investigate the construction of such networks, the researchers enclosed a tropical tent-web spider species in a square cage and sat there waiting for it to occupy the area with a 3-D web. They then illuminated and created high-quality photographs of two-dimensional cross-sections of the network using a sheet laser.

The 3D design of the net was then stitched collectively using a uniquely created mathematical formula from all of these 2D cross views. To convert this into tunes, various audio frequencies were assigned to various cords. The sounds created in this manner were then sung in rhythms inspired by the web’s architecture.

While Spider’s Canvas enables people to perceive the spider’s song, the virtual reality perspective, which allows people to access and interact with web strands themselves, provides an entirely new depth of immersion, the experts stated.

Maybe most intriguingly, the effort allowed the scientists to design a mathematical model for identifying the tremors produced by a spider’s web and converting them into “caught prey,” “web undergoing fabrication,” or “some other spider has come with sexual expectation.”

They are now attempting to produce composite impulses that will allow them to communicate in the spiders’ tongue. In order to connect with them, we can introduce them to specific beats or vibrational configurations.

The previous findings were published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

Susan Kowal
Susan Kowal is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor/advisor, and health enthusiast.