Bugs are creepy. You don’t need to be an entomophobe to empathize with that sentiment. But bugs are also inspiring — to researchers in China, that is. Taking a cue from nature, a team of engineers from the country’s School of Chemical Engineering and Technology have devised a microbot weighing just 0.02 lbs (11 grams) that can repeatedly jump across the surface of water without tanking. How’d they do it? Well, by using a highly repellent foam coating, the strider-like bot’s legs are able to stay afloat with every 5.5 inch (14 cm) leap it makes, buffering the force that would normally plunge it below the H20. The creation of this hydrophobic mini-insectoborg isn’t exactly the first of its kind, other aquatic gliders have come before, but this itty bitty fella’s the first to successfully and repeatedly hop along an aqueous top. Unfortunately, there’s no video demo for you to feast your eyes upon, so you’ll just have to take our word for it.
Filed under: Robots