Qinmin Pan and co-workers, Harbin Institute of Technology, China, have developed a microrobot that can walk on water. The robot was inspired by water striders in the Gerridae family. These bugs use swirling vortices on the water’s surface, created by their superhydrophobic legs, to propel themselves across the surface. Likewise, the microrobot’s weight is supported by superhydrophobic legs. Its motion is provided by two actuator legs that allow it to walk and turn freely on the water’s surface.
This is the first high speed, agile, and low-cost robot that can walk on water. The team hopes these qualities will see it, or a subsequent version, used in water quality surveillance or water pollution monitoring.
- Bioinspired Aquatic Microrobot Capable of Walking on Water Surface Like a Water Strider
X. Zhang, J. Zhao, Q. Zhu, N. Chen, M. Zhang, Q. Pan,
ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2011, 3(7), 2630–2636.
- Video of microrobot walking on water