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Recently, a few water strider robots that mimic the static and dynamic key characteristics of the insect water striders have been reported in the literature. These robots either lacked mobility or was tethered to an external source of power. Using the recent findings on the supporting legs of these robots creating repulsive surface tension based lift forces, a heavier yet highly maneuverable and non-tethered water strider robot, called STRIDE, is proposed in this paper. STRIDE uses two miniature DC motors and a lithium-polymer battery that are connected to the driving circuit on-board. Optimal leg shape is manufactured by bending 0.33 mm diameter stainless steel wires with a Teflonreg coating. This 6.13 gr non-tethered robot with twelve supporting legs demonstrated a linear motion of 8.7 cm/s and a rotational motion of 0.8 rad/s. STRIDE would have potential applications in continuous water quality monitoring on lakes, dams, and other water sources and in entertainment and education in the near future.
Date of Conference: 10-14 April 2007