SCI­EN­TISTS

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at the Univer­sity of Manch­ester have trained a re­gal jump­ing spi­der – named Kim - to leap on com­mand for the first time.

A high res­o­lu­tion, slow mo­tion video shows Kim jump­ing up to six times its body length from a stand­ing start.

The best a hu­man can achieve is about 1.5 times.

In a study de­scribed as ‘the most ad­vanced of its kind to date’, sci­en­tists looked at why the anatomy of the jump­ing spi­der evolved the way it did. They hope to use the re­sults to help de­velop a new type of ‘ag­ile mi­cro-ro­bot’ in­spired by na­ture.

Dr Mostafa Nabawy, lead au­thor of the study, said: “The fo­cus of the present work is on the ex­tra­or­di­nary jump­ing ca­pa­bil­ity of these spi­ders. A jump­ing spi­der can leap up to six times its body length from a stand­ing start. The best a hu­man can achieve is about 1.5 body lengths. The force on the legs at take-off can be up to five times the weight of the spi­der – this is amaz­ing and if we can un­der­stand these biome­chan­ics we can ap­ply them to other ar­eas of re­search.”

Four jump­ing spi­ders, which are na­tive to North Amer­ica, were ob­tained for the re­search – but Kim was the only one who ‘showed any in­cli­na­tion to jump as re­quired’. She was even­tu­ally taught to leap from plat­forms in a lab at the univer­sity – and the re­sults were recorded.

The re­sults showed Kim used dif­fer­ent types of jump de­pend­ing on the chal­lenge she was pre­sented with. See video at manch­ester eveningnews.co.uk

●● Kim the re­gal jump­ing spi­der, and be­low, leap­ing on com­mand

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