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Water-Walking Robot

Here's something you don't see every day:

water-walking robot.jpg

Water striders, insects that walk on the surface of the water, may never set foot on land in their lives, and yet they’re not swimmers. Over the past million or so years, this insect—sometimes called a water skater—has optimized its use of surface tension to balance its 0.01-gram body on lakes, ponds, and even oceans.

Researchers Yun Seong Song, a PhD student in mechanical engineering, and Metin Sitti, assistant professor in mechanical engineering, both from Carnegie Mellon University, have recently built a robot that mimics the water strider’s natural abilities. The first water striding robot, with an appearance and design closely resembling its insect counterpart, doesn’t ever break the surface tension of the water, and is highly maneuverable.

Right now, the robot can only do its stuff in water of about 3mm depth. Stay tuned...

(Via GeekPress.)


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If its not breaking the surface of the water, why does depth matter?

I guess I should click through, huh?


Short answer -- the real bug floats; the robot cheats its way to water-walking via the phenomenon of surface tension. But you only get the right tension in very shallow water.

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