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New bio-inspired water-hopping robot can help in monitor pollution

Researcher Qinmin Pan along with his team from China’s Harbin Institute of Technology, created a micro robot able to jump and stride on water like a real water strider. Six inches long robot, 1,000 times the weight of a real strider, jumps using five legs made from highly water repellent Nickel foam. Carbon fiber legs get a boost in buoyancy from super hydrophobic Nickel, that forms air-pockets to avert sinking of legs into the water. The robot leaves the water at a speed of 3.2 miles and can cover a distance of near about 14 inches in a single jump.

Scientists expect that the bio-inspired micro robot could be used to measure the level of pollutants in lakes, ponds and rivers, surveillance purpose, and may be many other fields. The robots that could walk on water, were tested earlier, but the new robot has an advantage of being more agile and it could overcome the obstacles created by objects on the surface of water, which obstruct its path.