Welcome to Tech Terrors Spiderverse – Eight Legs and lasers

Anyone see Into The Spiderverse over the holidays? Well the Tech Terrors are getting in on some crazy new eight-legged discoveries ourselves!

Our Terror’s Session 2 (3 for those non-computers that count from 1) is upon us and we’re hoping to lure our Terrors into an inspiring web of natural science and the physics of lasers and sound…’cause, you know, TECH!

We’ve got our own Friendly Neighbourhood Spiderfan Andrew M. joining us to demonstrate how he uses lasers…well, if you really want to geek-out, a laser doppler vibrometer that compares two reflected lasers to detect vibrations, to “listen” to spiders as they tune and monitor their webs for prey, danger…and even dates!

So excited to see & hear this in action tomorrow and so appreciate Andrew coming by to show it off for us!

Spiders ‘tune’ their webs for good vibrations! -from Reuters

The Doppler Effect

A fantastic description of the Doppler effect in sound, light and ducks…yes, ducks causing ripples in a pond…and the coolest of all effects…Redshift..proving that the universe is expanding and we’re all about to be very alone! 😉

Laser Vibrometry

I’ve set this to start at 1:01 so you can skip some of the cheesy marketing stuff and get to the cool science!

Here’s a little clip of our beautiful Black Widows in action under the watchful eye/ear of the laser Doppler Vibrometer which I believe is a version of this Polytechnic PDV-100 (and 3 grown-ups and I keeping very excited Tech Terrors and interested hallway lurkers behind the “tape of danger”)


OMG! This morning’s Tech Terrors session was a roaring success and mindblowing-ly cool!  Word of “laser wielding deadly Black Widow spiders roaming the halls”  spread like wildfire around the school…Kids from all grades…and even the Chess Club came to see what all the fuss was about!
Andrew “Spider Macguyver” M. fired up his laser vibrometer and hooked it up to Mr. Vida’s superpowered school sound system (manned by DJ Magic Mike) and let me tell you, those spiders made one heck of a racket! Spinning webs; catching crickets; or just clunking around their webs! 😉 

Thank you SO SO much to Andrew for making this happen…you, sir, are a spider superstar!

We made sure to keep the Terrors behind “The Perimeter”, our green tape line of danger… and 3 adults… and I… made sure that everyone stuck to it.  From that safe distance, Terrors got to watch the 3 spiders in action and actually feel the incredible strength and texture of these gorgeous creatures’ webs… by handling a deceased spider’s home.
We learned that while Black Widow spiders are very venomous, they are very rarely deadly…and will only bite when trapped, crushed or you foolishly try to steal their food…kind of like me!
We learned that spiders have a number of glands at the tip of their abdomens that can mix different types of web…much like a 3d printer with multiple filament!
BTW…This same kind of laser doppler vibrometry is used by spies to listen in on conversations in other buildings, by firing the laser at window panes and processing the reflected light into sound!
So much more that I’ve missed, but just a wonderful STEAM inspiring adventure for me and the terrors!
Huge thanks to Andrew “Spider Macguyver” M, Ron “Danger Line” V. and DJ Magic Mike V. for making the whole thing such a treat…and of course, Ms. E. for all her enthusiasm and support!

Here’s Coyote Peterson showing how NOT to handle a Black Widow…anyone who gets bitten by animals and insects on YouTube for a living not necessarily your best source of science!?


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