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28.7.12

The little robot that could: Canadian researchers have created an insect robot that can walk, and even jump, on water 
It is the tiny robot that can do something astonishing.Canadian researcher today showed off the incredible tiny machine inspired by an insect.Like the water strider it was based on, it can walk on water - and even jump, all without sinking.

Scientists at the University of Waterloo revealed the 'agile microrobot' in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.They say it could its jumping ability to avoid obstacles on reconnaissance or other missions.
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 14cm high and 35cm forward, 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 authors, led by Qinmin Pan, say that the ability to leap will make the bio-inspired robot more agile and better able to avoid obstacles it encounters on the water's surface.

'Such robots could skim across lakes and other bodies of water to monitor water quality or act as tiny spies,' the researchers say.They admit their biggest challenge was to make the robot jump.
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.
'Therefore, the present finding not only offers a possibility for vividly imitating and better understanding the amazing water-jumping capability of aquatic insects but also extends the application of porous and superhydrophobic materials to advanced robotic systems,' they say.

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