Scientists train regal jumping spider to leap on demand | Sunday Observer

Scientists train regal jumping spider to leap on demand

The team in Manchester studied the arachnid to see how jumps could help develop new agile robots inspired by nature. Pic: University of Manchester
The team in Manchester studied the arachnid to see how jumps could help develop new agile robots inspired by nature. Pic: University of Manchester

UK, May 8:

Scientists have trained a spider to jump on demand as part of work to develop agile mini-robots.

The regal jumping spider - named Kim - was trained by a team at the University of Manchester.

Officially named Phidippus regius, the arachnids measure about 2cm long and have a natural ability to jump up to six times their body length. And if that wasn’t impressive enough, clever Kim can now jump on demand.

Lead scientist Dr. Mostafa Nabawy and her team hope that learning how Kim makes her leaps might help with the development of a generation of robots inspired by nature.

Dr. Nabawy said: “The focus of the present work is on the extraordinary jumping capability of these spiders.

“A jumping spider can leap up to six times its body length from a standing start. The best a human can achieve is about 1.5 body lengths.

“The force on the legs at take-off can be up to five times the weight of the spider - this is amazing and if we can understand these biomechanics we can apply them to other areas of research.”

The team obtained four jumping spiders for the research - but found Kim was the only one who “showed any inclination to jump as required”.

She was trained to jump on demand from different heights and distances on a man-made platform, with her leaps recorded using ultra high-speed cameras.

-sky.com

 

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