As Robotics has evolved so much over the years researchers were able to develop an insect-like robot which can jump over the surface of the water just mimicking the movements of a real insect. To make this invention possible researchers analyzed water striders, insects which are able to walk and jump off the surface of the water with no effort, using just their dexterity and speed.
The study was conducted by researchers from Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, the Harvard John A Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Seoul National University. The research team chose waster striders as their inspiration because they considered it to be the ideal iterative prototype of the insect-like robot which they wanted to create.
The scientists observed that water striders have legs with curve edges which they rotate at a small decreasing speed so as not to exceed the tension of the water. In order for this to be possible they also use little force. Researchers were so surprised by this that they wanted to analyze this mechanism thoroughly in order to discover what causes this movement.
Wyss Institute Visiting Scholar Ho-Young Kim worked together with Eunjin Yang, the first co-author of the study who is also a graduate researcher at Seoul National University’s Micro Fluid Mechanics lab. They collected water striders and analyzed comprehensive videos which showed how the insects moved.
One of the co-senior authors of the study, Kyu Jin Cho, who director of the Biorobotics Laboratory at Seoul National University and associate professor of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering explained:
Water’s surface needs to be pressed at the right speed for an adequate amount of time, up to a certain depth, in order to achieve jumping. The water strider is capable of doing all these things flawlessly.”
The researchers observed that the best manner in which an insect-like robot could leap off the water’s surface was to keep the leg in contact with the surface of the water as long as possible throughout the jumping motion.
The insect-like robot which the team developed was a success, being able to exert 16 times the weight of its own body without affecting the water tension and even without needing any intricate locomotion mechanism.
Image Source: The Standard Daily