USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab/Flickr

What spiders think of virtual reality

What happens when you put a spider in a virtual reality environment? Researchers found that the arachnids take what they learned in the real world and apply it to virtual reality environments, NPR reports. They placed the jumping spiders on a 3D-printed spherical treadmill positioned in front of a display screen. It was a closed loop, updating in real time in response to the spider’s movements. In one instance, the spiders were taught to associate a beacon with their nest in the real world, something that was replicated in the virtual world. Spiders that had seen the beacon near their nest in the real world spent more time near the beacon in the virtual world than spiders that had not seen it. The experiment shines light on a method that lets scientists study subjects in a realistic, controllable environment.