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Researchers patent spider silk microphone

By Nicholas Gerbis
Published: Wednesday, December 13, 2023 - 2:29pm
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From adhesives to airplane parts, spider-web silks have long inspired inventors with their featherweight strength and flexibility.

One day, we might even broadcast through microphones made of the stuff.

Most microphones mimic the human ear: Acoustic waves cause vibrations in a thin, eardrum-like diaphragm, which are converted to electrical signals.

But, broadly speaking, hearing is really just a way of getting information from wiggles.

It turns out some orb spiders can detect more than the struggles of an insect caught in their webs; they can sense the intensity and direction of incoming sounds, too.

That’s because their silk is sensitive to a broader frequency range than any microphone.

The researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York have patented the approach and are working to commercialize it.

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