Washington, July 27 (ANI): Scientists have created the first bio-inspired microrobot that can not only walk on water- but continuously jump up and down like a real water strider.
The jumping ability of the agile microrobot could be use to avoid obstacles on reconnaissance or other missions.
Qinmin Pan and colleagues explained 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 noted 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.
Using porous, super water-repellant 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.
In experiments, 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 researchers said that the ability to leap would make the bio-inspired microrobot more agile and better able to avoid obstacles it encounters on the water's surface.
Scientists reported the development of the microrobot in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces. (ANI)