Thursday, April 06, 2006

Water Bug Robot

By Jennifer Bails

Inspired by the strange motion of the basilisk lizard, Carnegie Mellon University mechanical engineers have built a tiny robot that can sprint across land and water with equal aplomb.

By understanding the mechanics of living creatures such as the gecko lizard, water-strider bugs, beetles and bacteria, the research team is constructing a veritable zoo of fully autonomous, biologically inspired robots that can fly, swim, climb walls and navigate terrain of all kinds.

"My dream is that, in the end, we will combine all of these forms of dynamic locomotion into one robot," said assistant professor of engineering Metin Sitti, who heads Carnegie Mellon's NanoRobotics Lab.

For the water-walker robot Sitti emulated the motion of the basilisk lizard, a skittish member of the Iguana family that lives in the rain forests of Central and South America. Sometimes it is called the Jesus lizard because of its ability to run on water.

For now, the robot has a foot-long, boxy body made from carbon fibers with four plastic legs driven by a lightweight, high-power motor. The four legs give the robot extra lift needed to stay afloat.

CMU robot walks on water -


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home