How The Insect Sized Water Strider Robot Works
Researchers from Harvard University have built an insect sized robot that mimics the way water striders jump on water. By observing water striders using high-speed cameras , scientists noticed that insects do not simply push down on the water but gradually accelerate their legs so as not to break surface tension. Striders also sweep their legs inwards before each jump, to maximize the amount of time they touch the surface, which increases the force of their pushes.
The researchers used these principles to develop an ultra-lightweight robot with a 2cm long body inspired by origami. Its 5cm long wire legs are curved at the tips like a real water strider’s and coated with a material that repels water.
A flea-inspired jumping system , called a torque reversal catapult, launches the robot from the surface of the water up to 14.2 cm in the air.