Scientists in the US translated the structure of a spider web into music in the hopes their project could lead to interspecies communication
Humans may soon be able to communicate with spiders after scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) translated their webs into musical notes. They scanned a natural spider web with a laser to capture 2D cross-sections and then used computer algorithms to reconstruct the web's 3D network. Different frequencies of sound were then assigned to strands of the web, creating "notes" which they combined in patterns based on the web's 3D structure to generate melodies. Afterward, they created a harp-like instrument and played spider web music in several live performances around the world. The team also made a virtual reality setup that allowed people to visually and audibly "enter" the web. It is hoped the research will improve our understanding of how spiders live in webs, and therefore bring us a step closer to communicating with them. Dr. Markus Buehler, who led the research, said: "The spider lives in an environment of vibrating strings. They don't see very well, so they sense their world through vibrations, which have different frequencies.
"Webs could be a new source for musical inspiration that is very different from the usual human experience. "The sounds our harp-like instrument makes a change during the process, reflecting the way the spider builds the web. So, we can explore the temporal sequence of how the web is being constructed in audible form." He said the virtual reality experience of the web allows humans to understand their structure at a higher level. "By hearing it and seeing it at the same time, you can really start to understand the world they live in," he said. Scientists at MIT are known for their strange and fascinating experiments involving the natural world. Earlier this year, they taught spinach plants to send emails, in a move which they hoped could lead vegetables to warn humans of climate change. The plants, with their complex and sensitive root systems, are incredibly good at detecting changes in the soil. If these messages can be intercepted by humans, plants could warn of chemical changes which indicate the presence of landmines, as well as pollution and incoming droughts.