Robots Reveal How Water Striders Jump on Water

By Evan Ackerman

Water striders are little insects that spend their existence skating around on the surface of lakes, ponds, and streams, relying on surface tension to keep them dry and happy. Watching them zip around is very cool, and its equally cool to think about the physics going on between the water and their toes to allow them to do what they do. Water striders are also able to jump, which substantially ups the difficulty on the whole not-sinking thing, since they have to somehow exert a substantial amount of force on the surface of the water without breaking through. How do they do it? South Korean researchers built a robotic water strider to find out.

Our first encounter with a water strider robot was (as far as I know) back in 2007, from CMU’s Nanorobotics Lab, which may not exist anymore. Here’s an old press release and a video:  …[Read more]