Sunday, September 12, 2004

"Genius means watching well what God has done in Creation. ...

Wisdom means avoiding well what sin has done against it." -- Elliam Fakespeare

Robot Spider Walks on Water

Wired News, 08:19 AM Sep. 11, 2004 PT, AP

With inspiration from nature and some help from research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a team led by Carnegie Mellon engineering professor Metin Sitti built a tiny robot that can walk on water, much like the insects known as water skimmers or Jesus bugs.

It's only a prototype, but some researchers imagine the water-skimming robot could have many uses. With a chemical sensor, it could monitor water supplies for toxins; with a camera it could be a spy or an explorer; with a net or a boom, it could skim contaminants off the top of water. ...

Sitti's robot is little more than a half-inch boxy body made from carbon fibers and eight, 2-inch steel-wire legs coated with a water-repelling plastic (technically making it a water spider).

It doesn't have a brain, any sensors or a battery. Its "muscles" are three flat-plate piezoelectric actuators -- pieces of metal that bend when electricity runs through them. Wires run from the actuators to a power supply.

The robot can stand on water -- it doesn't float -- and can skim backward and forward, propelling itself with two legs that act like oars.


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