Spider webs inspiring soft robotics.
Vollrath F., Krink T.
In soft robotics, bio-inspiration ranges from hard- to software. Orb web spiders provide excellent examples for both. Adapted sensors on their legs may use morphological computing to fine-tune feedback loops that supervise the handling and accurate placement of silk threads. The spider's webs embody the decision rules of a complex behaviour that relies on navigation and piloting laid down in silk by behaviour charting inherited rules. Analytical studies of real spiders allow the modelling of path-finding construction rules optimized in evolutionary algorithms. We propose that deconstructing spiders and unravelling webs may lead to adaptable robots able to invent and construct complex novel structures using relatively simple rules of thumb.