A New Robot Walks and Jumps on Water
The field of robotics never fails to astonish us with their incredible creation. Most often they draw inspiration from the real world. And this time it the team from China's School of Chemical Engineering and Technology who have developed a microrobot being inspired by insects.
Weighing around 11 grams, this microrobot is not just capable of walking on water like the water strider but continuously jumping up and down like a real water strider. This microrobot could use its jumping ability to avoid obstacles on reconnaissance or other mission.
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The latest development that was reported in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces was led by Qinmin Pan and colleagues.
Qinmin Pan and colleagues explain that scientists have reported a number of advances toward tiny robots that can walk on water. Such robots could skim across lakes and other bodies of water to monitor water quality or act as tiny spies. However, even the most advanced designs including one from Pan's team last year can only walk on water. Pan notes that real water striders actually leap. Making a jumping robot is difficult because the downward force needed to propel it into the air usually pushes the legs through the water's surface. Pan's group looked for novel mechanisms and materials to build a true water-striding robot.
According to the researchers, "Making a jumping robot is difficult because the download force needed to propel it into the air usually pushes the legs through the water's surface."
The water strider-like robot is made with water-repellent nickel foam to fabricate the three supporting and two jumping legs, the group made a robot that could leap more than 5.5 inches, despite weighing as much as 1,100 water striders.
While they put this newly designed microrobot to test, the researchers noticed that the robot could jump nearly 14 inches forward more than twice its own length leaving the water at about 3.6 miles per hour. The authors report that the ability to leap will make the bio-inspired microrobot more agile and better able to avoid obstacles it encounters on the water's surface.