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LISTEN: MIT Scientists Create Eerie Music By Turning Spider Webs Into Virtual Instrument

CAMBRIDGE (CBS) -- Scientists at MIT have created music using a spider web. Researchers worked with an artist to get laser scans of a web, then used virtual reality to create a harp-like instrument to translate the scans into music.

MIT said this could help scientists better understand how spiders communicate. They also think it may lead to advanced 3D printing techniques.

Researchers presented their findings this week at a meeting of the American Chemical Society. MIT's Markus Buehler said "the spider lives in an environment of vibrating strings" and rely on vibrations at different frequencies to tell them what's happening in their web.

"Webs could be a new source for musical inspiration that is very different from the usual human experience," he said.

The research team scanned a web as it was being built by a spider, "transforming each stage into music with different sounds."

Vibrations: Spider and Prey by Markus J. Buehler on YouTube

Buehler said the next step is to try to talk to spiders using their language of web vibrations.

"If we expose them to certain patterns of rhythms or vibrations, can we affect what they do, and can we begin to communicate with them?" he said. "Those are really exciting ideas."

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