The pond skater insect, also known as a water strider, entertain people with their ability to walk on water. It walks and jumps on water by evenly distributing its weight on its long legs, that are covered with tiny hairs to help them move across water so fast. Now, engineers have created a robotic version of that bug.
The tiny robot is designed to either monitor the water quality of lakes and rivers, or to be surveillance on water. Researchers studied how the bugs jump precisely, and were able to replicate their traits, with the robot only weighing 68 milligrams, and being able to move in a similar fashion.
The small bot is made from nickel titanium, which is a durable, strong, and very elastic metal, that has a body length of less than one inch. However, the robot’s legs are two inches longer than the actual critter, so it can rotate easier. Their middle legs are used for rowing, while their hind legs for steering. Waves created by their movement, allows them to walk or jump across the water at a blazing one meter per second.
Dr. Je-Sung Koh, of Seoul National University in Korea, states, “Water striders skate easily on the surface of water mainly because their low body mass and super hydrophobic legs allow them to be supported on their tarsi, the proximal segment of an arthropod’s foot, by surface tension alone.” Hopefully the robots can be seen in action soon.