It is an almost accidental discovery. “While setting up the lab, I found a dead spider in the hallway,” said Daniel Preston, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Rice University. I saw her all curled up and I wondered why? One thing led to another, we ended up using them as pliers”.
To make these new kind of claws, scientists stick a syringe into the prosoma of a dead spider. By injecting air, its legs unfold. When the air is removed, they close. “Spiders have flexor muscles that bring their joints and appendages back to the body. But they don’t have extenders. Instead they do it with hydraulic pressure, which they generate inside their main body cavity,” explains the professor.
These spider clamps could be used in microelectronics. In addition to being precise and being able to catch micro-objects, they are able to carry up to 130% of their weight.
Another advantage of these revolutionary pliers: they are 100% biodegradable and therefore produce no waste.
Go to the video at the top of the article.