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Features May 2004: Volume 1, Number 2
   

Triton Spidermen

 
     


“Will you walk into my parlor?” said the spider to the fly. Forget walking, this particular 15-kilogram fly was flung by a giant catapult into a 60-foot-high replica of a web. “We mimicked the strength and effectiveness of a spider web,” says Albert Lin, a graduate student in the Jacobs School’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Lin was one of four UCSD post-graduate engineering students who appeared in the opening four episodes of Chasing Nature, an Animal Planet network reality series that debuted December 13.

Lin starred in the spider web episode with fellow UCSD student Andrew Gapin, ’03, and two Duke University students. UCSD students Chiara Daraio, ’03, and Rita Finones, ’04, also appeared in the first episodes with colleagues from Stanford, MIT, Harvard, Duke and Illinois.

Teams of four aspiring engineers were flown to Royal National Park in Australia and given only four days to duplicate a challenging animal behavior on a human-scale. Most importantly, the models the teams built actually worked.

“Having a limited amount of time to build a giant spider web, while being simultaneously filmed and interviewed was a bit intense,” says Lin. “But I would absolutely love to do something like this again.”

 

RELATED LINKS

Jacobs School of Engineering
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Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
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Animal Planet
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Golden Orb Web Spider
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"Having a limited amount of time to build a giant spider web, while being simultaneously filmed and interviewed was a bit intense...”