Tags: insect | robots | water striders | surveillance | rescue

Insect Robots Designed to Mimic Popular Water Striders

Image: Insect Robots Designed to Mimic Popular Water Striders
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By    |   Tuesday, 04 Aug 2015 01:59 PM

Insect robots that can mimic the ability of water striders to glide along puddles and leap into the air have been developed by Seoul National University researchers and could one day be used for surveillance, rescue missions, and environmental monitoring.

The research, which was revealed in the journal Science on Friday, details how scientists first used high-speed video to learn and copy the motions of the tiny half-inch water-striding insects and their keen ability to glide on water and leap as high as three inches, The New York Times reported.

"We found that water striders rotate the curved tips of their legs inward at a relatively low descending velocity with a force just below that required to break the water surface," the study's abstract stated.

"We built a 68-milligram at-scale jumping robotic insect and verified that it jumps on water with maximum momentum transfer. The results suggest an understanding of the hydrodynamic phenomena used by semi-aquatic arthropods during water jumping and prescribe a method for reproducing these capabilities in artificial systems," the abstract continued.

Seoul National researchers worked with scientists from Harvard University to build the tiny robots that can recreate the same motion of the water striders, The Times noted.

"We did this research to understand one of the most fascinating kinds of locomotion in nature," Kyu-Jin Cho, one of the study's senior authors and an associate professor at the biorobotics lab at Seoul National University, told the newspaper.

The robot built by Seoul National and Harvard scientists used a mechanism inspired by the way a flea jumps, with the legs pulling together slowly at first, and then quickly. The alloy the robot is powered by worked like a contracting spring that pulls on the water-repellent legs, according to The Times.

The tiny robots are made of glass-fiber-reinforced composite materials that weighs the total of three houseflies or 0.002 ounces, according to LiveScience.com. The robotic insect can jump 5.5 inches off the surface of the water.

"We have revealed the secret of jumping on water using robotics technology," Cho told the website. "Natural organisms give a lot of inspiration to engineers."

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Insect robots that can mimic the ability of water striders to glide along puddles and leap into the air have been developed by Seoul National University researchers and could one day be used for surveillance, rescue missions, and environmental monitoring.
insect, robots, water striders, surveillance, rescue
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2015-59-04
Tuesday, 04 Aug 2015 01:59 PM
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