Researchers transformed the 3D structure of a spider’s web into melodies, collaborating with artist Tomás Saraceno to develop Spider’s Canvas, a captivating musical tool.
The researchers then refined and expanded on their earlier efforts, including adding a dynamic virtual reality element that allows users to access and play with the web. Not only can this study help their understanding of the three-dimensional design of a spider’s web, but it can also help our understanding of the vibrational speech of spiders, the scientists say. Because they cannot see clearly, they sense their surroundings via tremors of varying speeds.
To study the construction of such webs, the researchers locked a species of tropical tent-web spider in a square cage and sat there waiting for it to occupy the area with a 3D web. They then illuminated and created high-quality photographs of two-dimensional cross-sections of the lattice using a sheet laser.
The 3D design of the net was then collectively stitched together using a uniquely created mathematical formula from all of these 2D cross views. To convert this into melodies, various audio frequencies were assigned to various cords. The sounds thus created were then sung in rhythms inspired by the architecture of the web.
While Spider’s Canvas allows people to perceive the spider’s song, the perspective of virtual reality, which allows people to access and interact with web strands themselves, offers a whole new depth of immersion. , the experts said.
Perhaps most intriguingly, the effort allowed scientists to devise a mathematical model to identify the tremors produced by a spider’s web and convert them into “prey captured”, “web in progress” or “another spider came with sexual expectations”.
They are now trying to produce composite pulses that will allow them to communicate in the language of spiders. In order to connect with them, we can introduce them to specific rhythms or vibrational patterns.
The previous results were published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.