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article imageScientists discover how to make robots walk on water

By Chris V. Thangham     Dec 10, 2007 in Technology
South Korean scientists have found a method to walk or bounce on water without sinking. By observing water strider insects, they plan to devise robots that will mimic the water strider’s behavior in water.
The Water strider is one of the fastest moving insects in the world. It can travel up to 100 times the length of its body in just one second, equivalent to 400 miles per hour. It can jump into water and walk on the surface without sinking.
Researchers from South Korea’s Seoul National University have analyzed the water strider and have discovered a way by which they can create robots that can behave similarly.
The water strider uses its long legs to help evenly distribute its tiny body weight. The weight is distributed over a large area so that the fragile skin formed by surface tension supports the bug on the water.
Water Strider Insect
The researchers found that the strider had water-repellent legs and with further analysis they were able to find at what speeds the insect hits the water and how it is able to remain afloat in the water.
The researchers found theoretical speeds at which any water repellent sphere can walk or bounce on water without sinking.
They will build robots with these properties in the near future. However, similar robots have already been developed by Carnegie Mellon University. They have developed a small spider robot (shown in the video and also in the picture below) and demonstrated how they walk in water like the strider.
The Korean scientists expect the robot to inspect or monitor water quality in small pools of water. Or they may use it for spying applications.
The video shows some of the robot creations inspired by nature.
More about Robots, Walk, Water
 
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