Robot Spiders Are Terrifying And Now Can Fly

A team of scientists have made terrifying spider robots that can not only creep around the ground but also fly.

By Britta DeVore | Updated

robot spider

If the UFOs seemingly appearing out of thin air and putting our Airforce to the test wasn’t enough for you to slide into a panic, boy, do we have news for you! Scientists at The University of Tokyo have engineered something we didn’t know (and aren’t quite sure) that we needed – robot spiders. That’s right, the developers have come up with robotic eight-legged arachnids, which you can see in the video below, and get this – they can fly.

As if the idea of huge arachnid bots wasn’t already a fear to keep you up at night, toss in the fact that these creepy crawlies can go airborne, and you’ve got a recipe for nightmares and permanent trauma. At this point, we’re sure you’re wondering how, what, where, and most importantly – why – but we’re sorry to say we don’t quite have all the answers yet. From what we’ve gathered, the robot spiders can take flight by using ultralight silk parachutes, which allow them to glide on the wind. 

Unfortunately, without the wind’s help, the robot spiders’ batteries only last for nine minutes, whereas walking on all eight legs takes around 18 minutes total before they run out of juice. Named SPIDAR for “SPherIcally vectorable and Distributed rotors assisted Air-ground amphibious quadruped Robot,” which is much more of a mouthful than its acronym would suggest, the 33-pound creations can be lifted without a heavy-duty engine by harnessing the power of 16 maneuverable propulsion thrusters, which shakes out to four per leg. 

These thrusters help the robot spiders change up the position and balance of each leg, which in turn allows the creations to stand up, walk, and crawl. However, if you’re afraid of one of these big boys sneaking up on you, you don’t need to worry just yet, as they move at a glacially slow pace and create quite a ruckus of noise while doing so. These thrusters are also what enable the robots to fly at the touch of a button by positioning them downwards.

robot spiders
Eight Legged Freaks

As you can see in the video, outrunning these robot spiders would be a whole lot easier than we’ve seen in horror flicks like Eight Legged Freaks, in which the giant arachnids moved at the speed of light. These bots seem to be thinking through every step they take, properly calculating their every move. And even when the video is sped up by four times, the spiders don’t creep very quickly, meaning there are still miles to go in the research – but what a start!

This isn’t the first time over the last few weeks and months that spiders and robots have appeared close to one another in the same sentence. Just a few months ago, we brought you the story of scientists turning dead spiders into necro bots – further fanning the flames of our arachnid-filled nightmares. Again, we’re not sure if it’s what we needed, but just like the flying and slowly crawling robot spiders, it’s what we’re getting.