The researchers at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom have been successful to train a regal jumping spider named Kim to jump to different distances and heights on their demand. This is the first time that a spider was trained successfully to jump.
For the study, the researchers used 3D CT scanning and high resolution and high-speed cameras to record and then later analyse the movement and behaviour of the spider. But don’t worry as all this is not meant for anything wicked. The researchers just wanted to know how why the anatomy of the regal jumping spider evolved in the way it is and to learn how to use this study to imagine and build an army of regal jumping spider robots which is an unthinkable thing in today’s world.
Unlike the other domestic pets, we have like dogs or cats; the spiders do not eat more than one time in a week. This made their training process a little difficult as they could not be easily encouraged to jump by using food to entice them.
The author of the study Mostafa R A Nabawy said that his team kept transferring Kim between two jumping platforms in a laboratory set up several times till the time she became familiar with it and was willing to jump without any kind of assistance. They then recorded her jumps on the cameras used the CT scans to make a 3D model of Kim’s body structure and legs.
The result revealed that the regal jumping spider species make use of different jumping ways and strategies based on the challenge it is presented to. And now, by gaining a better understanding of Kim’s jumping biomechanics, the researchers hope to use their findings to engineer jumping spider robots in the future.