Robot mimics basilisk movement
We all know that walking on water is a miracle from the human point of view, but it isn’t really a problem if you’re a basilisk. What happens if you’re a robot instead? Logic dictates that something as heavy as a robot wouldn’t be able to last the distance across a body of water, but the NanoRobotics team at Carnegie Mellon University seem to have a differing opinion as they are currently hard at work on a robot that will soon be able to skim across water just like the basilisk (also known as the “Jesus Lizard” for obvious reasons).
This group of researchers claim that there is some amphibious potential in such a robot that could potentially result in an efficiency boost to a boat. After all, the laws of physics dictate that a vehicle that runs across the surface of water will experience very little viscous drag for greater efficiency. To date, computer simulations have proved encouraging, with the benefits of efficiency gains in the design and motion over the standard evolutionary model provided by the basilisk especially when two or more sets of running legs are used. So far a number of leg designs have been tested but there is no final prototype decided upon just yet.
Just how does the basilisk perform this ‘miracle’? For starters, it is capable of running across the surface of a body of water at speeds of up to 1.5 meters per second without using the help of surface tension to keep it afloat unlike other water riding animals and insects. Instead, it elevates and propels itself by the slapping motion of its large, webbed feet. The Water Runner Robot will ultimately be designed based on the same principles. No idea on when such technology will be available for amphibious vehicle designs, but some progress is always better than none.