Spiders interpret the world through vibrations, which amazed Marcus J. Buhler, a chemical engineering physician at MIT. To understand this phenomenon, he recreated vibrations from cobwebs and made music from them.
Music visualizes the web
Markus J Buehler and colleagues scanned the spider web with lasers. Then they recreated a virtual network in three dimensions. The virtual network received the same vibration frequency as the real coil wire, with the difference that it was converted to a frequency that the human ear could hear. It became music.
Spiders perceive the world in vibrations. It’s hard for us humans to understand what their mental world really looks like, so what do you get to picture the ocean if you feel the vibrations? Says Jonas Sandstrom, professor of ecology at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
Music is an acoustic image of the structure of a spider’s web and it should be a way for humans to feel what it’s like to live on the web.
Love gives the spider good vibrations
Vibrations in a spider’s web are essential to the spider’s survival, as it uses the information from the vibrations to search for and locate prey that stumbled across the web.
By vibrating in the net, you know from which direction the prey is located and where it ended up somewhere in the net. It can also feel the size of the prey, if it is too large for the spider to handle, says Jonas Sandstrom.
Vibrations are also part of the mating game, so when a male wants to mate with a female, he plays on her web to attract her. Through the vibrations she understands his intention, perhaps it can be likened to a love song.
Researchers want to communicate with the spider
The music created by researchers is artistic and they took some liberties such as choosing instruments that became guitar and composite. But by looking at the vibrations of the spider’s web, researchers hope that in the future, they will be able to communicate with the spiders. But then, a greater understanding of the importance of different vibrations is required.
This isn’t the first time Marcus J Buehler has made music out of unexpected things. It also mitigated SARS-CoV-2 to understand its structure.
Listen to the music from the cobweb in the above clip.