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Surgery, Spiders and Jerry Lewis?

Gabriel Perez

Posted on August 10, 2018 17:11

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One of these things is not quite like the other, but for anyone who's dealt with surgery, or will be dealing with any upcoming surgery, I give you (hopefully) some laughter because to me, laughter truly is the best medicine.

Please raise your hand if you love surgery?

Anyone? Anyone?

Yes sir, you in the back, your hand is up. You like being under the knife?

Oh, you were just stretching. Oh, okay.

All right then, who loves spiders? Please raise your hands. Anyone? Anyone?

Interesting. Not one hand went up.

Then why in the world would someone mix spiders with surgery?!

Researchers from three prestigious schools: The Harvard's Wyss Institute, the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Boston University, have apparently teamed up and developed a robot spider to be used for medical applications. As their model, they chose the Australian Peacock Spider.

From afar, the Peacock Spider could be considered cute. Some would even go so far as to say they're adorable. It's possible those that say this do not live in Australia, but that's neither here nor there. The largest of the species reach about 0.3 inches, so they are not large, but they do like to jump.

Yes, they like to jump.

Not only do they like to do this, but they're also poisonous. Thankfully, not to humans. Their little jaws aren't strong enough to bite through us, but their prey, which are insects and even other spiders, are not so lucky. Oh, and they dance. They dance a lot and they are colorful.

Their dancing and their agile movements are what attracted the researchers to this particular insect in the first place. It had to be, because it sure wasn't the creature's eyes. A close-up of this spider reveals numerous eyes that have the unique ability to peer into one's soul  and make most people squeamish. They're also hairy little guys, which thankfully, the researchers did not mimic.

An interesting side note about their dancing is this: It's the males of the species that dance. They do this to attract the females. The male Peacock Spider will wave its little arms and extend a small colorful flap into the air (much like an actual peacock (hence the name)). To say the least, it's very entertaining to watch, however, if the female is not interested, they will often try to attack, kill and feed on the poor entertainer.

Sometimes these females do this... even after mating with them.

Tough crowd.

Anyway, according to this video, the surgical robot is made of silicon rubber. It also has eighteen degrees of movement (or freedom) compared to other soft robots which only have one. This dexterity will allow this robot the ability to be used in many surgical applications...well, that is, as long as people can get over its spider-like appearance. The fact that the robot is not poisonous may help in this area as well.

For those of you scheduled for a surgery, don't worry. This spider isn't available yet. It's still being developed.

Also, if you're nervous about any upcoming surgery, I recommend this classic video of Jerry Lewis in his movie 'Cracking Up.' No spiders involved, just laughs.
 

Gabriel Perez

Posted on August 10, 2018 17:11

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Source: Mashable

A new fabrication method for millimeter-scale soft robots provides them with unprecedented dexterity, opening up the opportunities...

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