3-D Printed 'Soft' Robotic Spiders That Can Be Manipulated With Magnetic Fields

August 15, 2018

This is a video demonstration of the spiders that were created with a new form of 3-D printable ink infused with magnetic particles that can then be manipulated with magnetic fields to make them change shape and even crawl. What was that? Is there something on the back of my neck?!

the researchers see broad applications for small shape-changing devices -- what some call "soft robots" -- especially in medicine.

"You can imagine this technology being used in minimally invasive surgeries," said Xuanhe Zhao, a professor of engineering at MIT and a member of the team that developed the 3D-printed shape-shifting technology. "A self-steering catheter inside a blood vessel, for example -- now you can use external magnetic fields to accurately steer the catheter."

Other uses could include magnetically controlled implants to control the flow of blood, and devices that could be guided by magnet through the body -- to take pictures, clear a blockage or deliver drugs to a specific location, Zhao said.

The future! But did they have to make them look like spiders? Why not smiley faces? If I want something rooting around inside of me looking for the Sharpies that disappeared Friday night after a few glasses of pinot noir, I want it to look friendly. I also want it to be nonjudgemental.

Keep going for the video.

Thanks to Ed wielder of the Axe of Grognak!, who clearly knows all about wielding great power and great responsibility. Or just found the axe in a display case at Hubris Comics and picked the lock.

  • bakuryu

    The GIF is awesome. Then you watch youtube video and realize it have to be moved by a sad puppeteer juggling with a giant magnet.
    They at least have to find a way of moving just certain segment. Maybe with a "sock" around spiders legs with the bottom half magnetically shielded rolling on command.Or printing different part with different magnetic ink concentration ratio(sound pretty hard to manually control with magnets,though).

  • Impressive, but a bit creepy.

  • Jenness

    They can invent this but they can't invent a life forever and stay young and beautiful pill???

    It's cool though - but I'm still waiting for Elysium medipods.

  • Jesus H. Presley ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ™

    It's called drugs!

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  • Meh

    I guess asking for movies without terrible actors like Matt Damon and Nick Cage with is really too much to ask for.

  • Jenness

    Who cares about the bad acting - I just want one of those dang pods.

  • Closet Nerd


  • Meh

    What a coincidence. I actually started working for a large magnet supplier so now i can honestly say, this is my alley:)

  • Eric Ord


    PS Very new and innovative, just like my FIRSTS

  • Ollie Williams

    Can you not simply be a contributing regular to this comment section? I'm going to have to block you again. Post something worthwhile. Show some intelligence.

  • Irina Abramovich

    Seriously even I take a break

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