Robotic Insect moves across the water


Credit Bob Hubner / WSU

A robotic insect that moves across the water, maybe the smallest, lightest, fastest ever developed.

Researchers at Washington State University have developed two very small and lightweight insect-like robots, a mini-bug and a water strider. These micro-robots, weighing in at 8 milligrams and 55 milligrams respectively, are not only the smallest but also the lightest and fastest fully functional micro-robots ever created.

The mini-bug and water strider, highlighted in the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society’s International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, hold great potential for various applications. They could be employed in tasks such as artificial pollination, search and rescue missions, environmental monitoring, micro-fabrication, or even robotic-assisted surgery. Both robots can achieve a speed of about six millimeters per second.

What sets these micro-robots apart is the innovation in their tiny actuators, responsible for their movement. The researcher, Conor Trygstad, utilized a novel fabrication technique to shrink the actuator to less than a milligram – the smallest ever created. This breakthrough opens up new possibilities for the future of micro-robotics in a wide range of fields.

Robotic Insect Credit WSU

Conor Trygstad, a PhD student in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering and lead author of the work, said:

“That is fast compared to other micro-robots at this scale although it still lags behind their biological relatives. An ant typically weighs up to five milligrams and can move at almost a meter per second.

They’re very mechanically sound. The development of the very lightweight actuator opens up new realms in micro-robotics.”

source Washington State University


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