A Minority Report-type insect robot that can launch itself from the surface of water has been created by international researchers. Jim Drury reports.
It's not an insect, but a robot, and it could help scientists create water-borne robots for use in surveillance and search and rescue missions. With a body two centimetres long and weighing 68 milligrams, it's based on the common water strider and can jump as high on water as on hard ground. Researchers from Seoul National University and Harvard University studied videos of a real water strider in action. They noticed that its long legs accelerate gradually, below the force that water surface can withstand. They developed a similar torque reversal catapult mechanism for their device. A future robot that can float and jump on water could prove invaluable in surveillance work and to help find survivors after disasters.