New robotic insects can hop on water. Researchers from Harvard University and Seoul National University in South Korea studied live water striders, which can skate and leap on water, to design the robots. The bots weigh just 68 milligrams and have bodies that are 2 centimeters long and legs 5 centimeters long.
Like real water striders, the robots use water’s surface tension to support them as they jump, pushing off without puncturing the water’s surface, the scientists report in the July 31 Science.
The robots can jump on land as well as water. But unlike a living water strider, this first generation of robo-striders can’t get back up after a splash – or crash – landing.