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Robotics Education

Robot Walks on Water 273

gmletzkojr writes "Yahoo! News has a story about a robot built to walk on water, much like small insects, bugs, and of course, Jesus. The current robot is only a prototype, but more 'useful' robots are already being imagined." This puts into practice what scientists learned just last year.
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Robot Walks on Water

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  • Well now... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by leonmergen (807379) * <<moc.liamg> <ta> <negreml>> on Friday September 10, 2004 @05:27AM (#10210716) Homepage
    So now that we got a really tiny robot that walks on water, what can we do with it ?
    • by Archon-X (264195) on Friday September 10, 2004 @05:28AM (#10210726)
      jesus deathmatch?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, 2004 @05:30AM (#10210734)
      Run around on lakes catching mosquitoes. The great thing is, it can be powered by digesting the flies, too!

      • Re:Well now... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by beeglebug (767468) * on Friday September 10, 2004 @05:40AM (#10210767)
        Seriously, I wonder if a combination of those two robots would be possible? It would be an ideal combination, what with the ammount of small insects which hover just above most still waters...
        • Re:Well now... (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Leibherk (112156)
          Its possible that the weight of a fly landing on the robot would increase its weight past the point where it can stay on the water and it would sink.
        • Maybe it could be combined with one of these things [mosquitoeater.com] to get the mosquitos. Not that I want more machines going around generating greenhouse gasses...
      • Re:Well now... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by FullMetalAlchemist (811118) on Friday September 10, 2004 @06:10AM (#10210859)
        Considering the fact that a single fly laying eggs would; if the offspring wasn't to die premature age by spiders and such; would, after a year, have caused such a huge amount of flies that it would equal the mass of this little planet.

        A great energy source, all the robots would need to do is to smell like shit, and they'd be done for life :)

        Imagine a lake covered in shitsmelling robots, what a sight!
      • Re:Well now... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Arathrael (742381) on Friday September 10, 2004 @09:25AM (#10211728)
        Interestingly (well, I find it interesting), Isaac Asimov suggested the use of robots to control insect population in '...That Thou Art Mindful of Him' in 1974.

        'Harriman said, "We cannot control insects effectively without risking damage to the ecology. Chemical insecticides are too broad; juvenile hormones too limited. The robo-bird, however, can preserve large areas without being consumed [...] If the fruit-fly supply runs short, the robo-bird does nothing. It does not multiply, it does not turn to other foods, it does not develop undesirable habits of its own. It does nothing.'

        Obviously that's not going to happen just yet - it'll take a lot more than water-walking and fly-digestion - but it does seem that maybe we're on our way to this sort of thing.

        I'm not an Asimov nut by the way, I just finished reading 'The Complete Robot' the other day and still have it by my desk. :-)
        • Ah, how fast we humans learn except when it comes to learning to NOT do stupid things.

          Think a little about this: in places far away from humans the nature is presumably in some sort of balance. It's also full of insects, far more than any other class of life. As a consequence insects are very important - without insects, or with reduced numbers of insects in the wild, most of the animal life we know wouldn't survive; and a lot of plants are pollinated by insects (not just bees!) - many would disappear.

          Muc
          • Erm... to be honest, I don't think you've really thought it through yourself.

            I mean, places far away from humans are totally irrelevant. There's no need to control the insect population far away from humans, and the point is that the robot approach would allow the precision to control the insect population in designated areas. Even in that small quote I gave, it's being presented as an alternative to chemical pesticides in specific areas and refers to a level of population control rather than eradication.

        • Wouldn't it be a lot easier to build a few bird houses, or maybe a couple bat boxes? This will also give the advantage of know when West Nile Virus has moved into the area, maintenance is a non-issue, plus bats and birds will NEVER claim protection under the DCMA.

          I'm a technologist, but why fight nature when cooperating is so much more elegant.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      What would evil robot Jesus do? [dieselsweeties.com]
  • by darth_silliarse (681945) on Friday September 10, 2004 @05:28AM (#10210724) Homepage
    When it can turn tap water into wine/beer/rum I'll buy one...
  • by beeglebug (767468) * on Friday September 10, 2004 @05:33AM (#10210749)
    Here [bbc.co.uk], no new info, but a couple of pictures of the dye tests and the robot itself.
  • by Raseri (812266) on Friday September 10, 2004 @05:34AM (#10210751)
    2000 years ago Jesus was a carpenter; now He builds robots. There is hope for geeks yet. :p
    • What, so you're saying that it takes 2000 years to go from making chairs to learning how to build robots?

      That's not hope, that's just demoralizing. Now I'm going to have to give up my childhood dream of becoming a 'Scientist who makes cool robots'.

      Heartless bastard ...

    • 2000 years ago Jesus was a carpenter; now He builds robots. There is hope for geeks yet Blessed are the geeks...
  • Lava-proof (Score:3, Interesting)

    by usefool (798755) on Friday September 10, 2004 @05:34AM (#10210753) Homepage
    Wait until they made one that can walk on lava, it'll be really useful for some scientific research in volcanos.
    • Re:Lava-proof (Score:5, Insightful)

      by FinestLittleSpace (719663) * on Friday September 10, 2004 @06:00AM (#10210827)
      IANAS, but AFAIK, lava is an entirely different consistency to water and doesnt have a miniscus (spag?) as such to 'stride' on. Equally, if it's hot enough to melt ROCK, metal doesn't stand much of a chance does it?
      • Re:Lava-proof (Score:3, Informative)

        by davidoff404 (764733)
        IANAS, but AFAIK, lava is an entirely different consistency to water and doesnt have a miniscus (spag?) as such to 'stride' on.

        Not so. Lava, like any other fluid, has a surface tension (and a particularly high one at that). It should, in principle, be able to support much greater masses although I'd like to see someone try to walk on it.
      • How about using some aerogel [slashdot.org] for robot footwear protection? Hrm, doing a google it appears that melted rock has a temperature of 1200 degrees C [gsu.edu], which is the same as aerogel. [wikipedia.org] Perhaps a combination of ceramic and aerogel?
  • Quick mover (Score:5, Insightful)

    by goneutt (694223) on Friday September 10, 2004 @05:35AM (#10210754) Journal
    I think the most important part of this article and development is the fact that the pure research came up with the knowledge last year, and has quickly produced a working model. I think it's a good show of the need for pure research in all fields of science, but it ain't gonna win a nobel prize.

    Since these little things rely on some form of surface tension, will a surfact tension modified such as oil or soap affect them.
    • Re:Quick mover (Score:3, Interesting)

      by BasilBrush (643681)
      Look a little closer at the article from last year. The scientists had already produced a working model then. This is a dupe, either by slashdot, or by the person making another robot.
  • I knew it! (Score:5, Funny)

    by secretsquirel (805445) on Friday September 10, 2004 @05:36AM (#10210756)
    This just confirms what I've long suspected. Jesus was a robot.
  • by yjo (672739) on Friday September 10, 2004 @05:38AM (#10210762)
    The BBC link from the previous article clearly shows a robot was successfully made in 2003 -- http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3126299. stm
  • NEWSFLASH (Score:5, Funny)

    by Michael Hunt (585391) on Friday September 10, 2004 @05:41AM (#10210770) Homepage
    Groundbreaking new robot crucified by Romans.

    Film at Eleven.
  • by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Friday September 10, 2004 @05:44AM (#10210779) Homepage
    One day Jesus and Moses are out on the heavenly golf course. Moses hits a wicked slice, right into a water hazard. He parts the water, retrieves his ball, and hits a great shot right onto the green. Jesus tees up, and hits into the same water hazard. Jesus confidently walks out onto the water, but sinks like a rock. Moses helps him out of the water, coughing and spluttering. "What happened?" says Moses. Jesus replies, "I didn't have these damn holes in my feet last time."
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, 2004 @06:20AM (#10210883)
      Peter, John, and Jesus are sailing on the Galilee. As the trio near the shore, Jesus hops from the boat and calmly walks across the water to dry ground. He turns to his apostles and calls, "Come!"

      Without a moment's hesitation John jumps from the boat and strides confidently to the shore and takes up position next to Jesus. They embrace, turn and both implore Peter, "Come!" Peter cautiously steps out of the boat and after not even a step sinks to the bottom.

      John asks, "Master, should we have told him where the rocks are?"
    • by 10Ghz (453478) on Friday September 10, 2004 @09:06AM (#10211544)
      Jesus was having a bad day in Heaven. He was concerned because more and more people of The Earth were using drugs. So he summoned his disciples to an emergency meeting. They talked and thought of ways to solve the drug-problem, but they could not figure out a way. So they decided that in order to solve the problem, they had to understand the problem. So Jesus sent his disciples back to Earth, with a mission top gather drugs from all corners of the world, so they could study them.

      Days passed, and Jesus was getting nersous. Then he heard a knock on the door:

      "Who is it?"
      "It's me, Matthew"
      "What did you bring with you?"
      "Crack-cocaine from Los Angeles"
      "Very good my child, come on in"
      Jesus opened the door, and Matthew stepped inside

      Then there was another knock on the door:

      "Who is it?"
      "It's me, Peter"
      "What did you bring with you?"
      "Ecstacy from Amsterdam"
      "Very good my child, come on in"
      Jesus opened the door and Peter stepped in.

      Then there was another knock on the door:

      "Who is it?"
      "It's me, John"
      "What did you bring with you?"
      "Khat from Mogadishu"
      "Very good my child, come on in"
      Jesus opened the door and John stepped in

      Then there was another knock on the door:

      "Who is it?"
      "It's me, Simon"
      "What did you bring with you?"
      "Heroin from Moscow"
      "Very good my child, come on in"
      Jesus opened the door and Simon stepped in.

      Then there was anothe knock on the door:

      "Who is it?"
      "It's me, Judas"
      "What did you bring with you?"
      "DEA motherfuckers! Hands against the wall!"
    • by Slightly Askew (638918) on Friday September 10, 2004 @09:47AM (#10211930) Journal

      Jesus and Moses are playing golf one Saturday with an old friend. Moses tees up first, and hits his ball straight at the water hazard. He lifts his driver up and immediately the waters part, the ground dries up, and his ball rolls right to the green, mere feet from the cup

      Jesus is up next. He takes his shot and, again, the ball heads straight for the water. Jesus calmly raises his hand and the ball skims smoothly across the surface of the water and rolls onto the green, just inches from the hole.

      Finally, the old man is up. He takes his drive and, sure enough, his ball heads straight for the water hazard. The old man calmly nods his head and a trout jumps out of the water, grabs his ball in its mouth, and splashes back into the water. At that moment a bald eagle swoops down on the trout and snatches him out of the water. The eagle streaks into midair, where he is struck by lightning, dropping the trout onto the green, where the ball pops out of its mouth and rolls into the cup.

      Jesus turns to the old man and says, "Nice shot, dad."

  • by Angostura (703910) on Friday September 10, 2004 @05:54AM (#10210808)
    "Sitti and other researchers imagine that his water-skimming robot could be used on any still water. With a chemical sensor, it could monitor water supplies for contamination or other toxins; with a camera it could be a spy or an explorer; with a net or a boom, it could skim contaminants off the top of water." ... if only someone could invent some kind of, oh, I don't know... radio controlled boat.
    • Agree in many ways... I think these jobs can be done already by boats, although the feleing is that if it's SKIMMING the water, it is not penetrating the miniscus (spag?), so wouldn't get eroded or contaminate any chemical mixture...
  • Mosquito-killer (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 't is DjiM (801555) on Friday September 10, 2004 @05:58AM (#10210823)
    Would be nice to combine this with the insect-eating robot that was mentioned a few days ago.

    Bye bye mosquito's!!
  • by AndroidCat (229562) on Friday September 10, 2004 @06:16AM (#10210874) Homepage
    If you're ever chased by water-walking killer robots from the future, just throw some soap or detergent in the water to mess up the surface tension. They never plan for that! (This might also work for water-walking religous figures, but I wouldn't recommend it.)
  • so why not (Score:5, Funny)

    by bomdemais (730218) on Friday September 10, 2004 @06:18AM (#10210877) Homepage Journal
    just use legs that float?
  • Imagine (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, 2004 @06:18AM (#10210879)
    a beowulf cl.... nah, better not...
  • capsula? (Score:5, Informative)

    by drewbradford (458480) <drew@drewbradford.com> on Friday September 10, 2004 @06:19AM (#10210881) Homepage
    When I was little I had a capsula ( http://www.discoverthis.com/capsula.html [discoverthis.com] ) set that could walk on water... didn't anyone else?

    Oh -- it looks like they're still being made... I guess it's time to find out my Visa's credit limit.
    • Woow! I think I saw these once, a really really long time ago. I only have a very faint memory of them, and I've always wondered what they were. Thank you so much!
    • Yes, I did own a set of those :)! They seriously kicked ass! I'm glad to see they are still making them. I just have to make sure my future kid will have plenty of Legos and Capsela's to play around with.

      Like father like son :).
    • That rocks! I grew up in England, where these were hard or impossible to find. Luckily (well, for the purposes of this discussion) my Dad kept going on 4-6 month business trips to the 'states (thanks a bunch, TI). Anyway, he'd always come back with a guilt-offering of the largest, niftiest capsela stuff available. Way fun, and yes, I remember fondly those big yellow floats. And the joys of slowly running out of the hexagonal connectors as they cracked.
    • capsela. with an E. I believe it's a product of non-american origin which offers alternative spelling, but I agree whole-heartedly that capsela owns. I have a 1000 set (They seem to call it the Max-Out 1000 these days) in my closet.

      I always liked the modular system. LEGO blocks were cool, but Capsela offered more versatility in terms of what you could build and how well it would stand up to the environment.

      I often wonder why more things aren't modular.
    • Capsela! And on the upside everything you built would look exactly like a space station or unmanned submarine!
  • Ice? (Score:3, Funny)

    by KrunZ (247479) on Friday September 10, 2004 @06:40AM (#10210927)
    Hey it's nothing special. My AIBO did that last winter without any problems.
  • The page of the project is on the site of the uni. Here is the cached version :

    http://www.google.be/search?q=cache:-PDGwjm17ycJ:w ww.me.cmu.edu/faculty1/sitti/nano/projects/waterst rider/+&hl=fr [google.be]

    On that page they also have a video.
    -
  • by hachete (473378) on Friday September 10, 2004 @07:16AM (#10211036) Homepage Journal
    http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=18341

    umm - maybe they could merge, provide pool-cleaning facilities, say.

    h

    Perfect sig for sale - only one careful owner
  • by nnnneedles (216864) on Friday September 10, 2004 @07:31AM (#10211084)
    When they put these robot insects out on a lake to monitor shit, they will not be killed by other insects. You know why? BECAUSE ROBOTS DON'T TASTE VERY GOOD. So robots are superior than biological creatures, and they will take over the earth and suck our brains dry (because humans are still yummy). And if that wasn't bad enough, we will all later wake up in a dystopian future and be forced to hang out with keanu reeves for the rest of our lives. :(
  • RoboStrider '03 (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, 2004 @07:34AM (#10211097)
  • Eight legs (Score:3, Funny)

    by spakka (606417) on Friday September 10, 2004 @07:49AM (#10211143)
    This will be a bastard to crucify.
  • It's called a boat.
  • Cheap Robot (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mindhaze (40009)
    Sitti estimates his spartan prototype cost about $10 in materials to make.

    Great! So, show me how! :)
  • Robot-Jesus (Score:5, Funny)

    by powerlinekid (442532) on Friday September 10, 2004 @08:15AM (#10211261)
    Fry: "So, what's the deal? You guys don't believe in Robot-Jesus?"
    Jewish Bot: "We believe he was built and that he was a very well programmed robot, but he wasn't our messiah."

  • Ok, I clicked the links and read...but come one, can't there be a picture of this little thing!! I mean, it loses a little bit of collness factor when I can't see what it looks like walking on water.

    Really though, will this really be that important. I am guessing that any application of a water walking robot would require relatively calm and stable water conditions. That basically limits the times and places it could be used. I mean, we already have things that can "walk on water" and can be used almos
  • by Giant Killer (33130) <dave&davegandy,com> on Friday September 10, 2004 @08:25AM (#10211314) Homepage
    Bah. My roommate did this three years ago when he was an undergrad at MIT for his senior thesis. He designed and built it himself. You can see it here [mit.edu]. Granted, it is entirely mechanical, but dang it's cool. He's got a video of it going across water.

    Most recently he built a robotic snail that, in its current incarnation, actually goes completely upside down. Oddly enough, he calls it robosnail [mit.edu].

    Did I mention the dude makes his own swords [mit.edu]?
    • All that cool stuff, and all I could think of was this [nuklearpower.com].

      "Welcome to Corneria!"
      "I like swords!"
      "Welcome to Corneria!"
      "I like swords!"
      "Welcome to Corneria!"
      "I like swords!"

      ...

    • From the article:

      Snails have 3 modes of locomotion on solid surfaces: forward unduating motion, backward undulating motion, and galloping.

      Galloping??? Is that some insightful snail humor or is this for real? It's sorta funny because when I picture this in my head, I expect to see a snail moving at, well, a snail's pace, along with horse clop noises as it moves.

      Can anyone share any insights as to what snail galloping is??

    • Not to belittle your friend's efforts, but there is a difference. You're friend's implementation simply floated on top and moved in a straight line. The new robot actually mimicks the locomotion of a real strider. It's suttle, but there is a difference.
  • It would also float (Score:3, Interesting)

    by penguinoid (724646) on Friday September 10, 2004 @08:38AM (#10211382) Homepage Journal
    I'm pretty sure that this bot would also float (appart from water walking). It wouldn't make much sense otherwise, as a small wave, detergent, etc, would sink it. Also, I am not familiar with the dynamics of walking on water, but is walking on water more efficient than plowing through it like a boat?
  • "Sitti's prototype is especially impressive considering researchers didn't really know how water skimmers actually walked on water until last year.

    The bugs support themselves on water because they're not heavy enough to break the surface tension of water, like a needle that floats."


    I don't get it. I have known this since I was a kid.

  • by Tetravus (79831) on Friday September 10, 2004 @09:26AM (#10211730) Homepage
    The water strider project's home page can be found here [cmu.edu].
    The CM NanoRobotics home page is here [cmu.edu].

    Both have pictures of the bot and many others.
  • well (Score:5, Funny)

    by syrinx (106469) on Friday September 10, 2004 @09:41AM (#10211871) Homepage
    It comes from MIT and CMU, so it probably just *thinks* that it can walk on water..
  • Now we will also have robots proclaiming to be the second coming of Christ...
  • Am I the only one who read that and imagined robots reading the news on TV? (Then I imagined them doing it in the style of "Robot Theater" from _Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In_. /\/\/\/\/\)
  • by Wordsmith (183749) on Friday September 10, 2004 @10:01AM (#10212106) Homepage
    I for one welcome our robot King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

    Of course, it would be much more useful if it could make the water into wine. Or maybe beer. Yes, beer.
  • No patents! (Score:2, Interesting)

    Now the good thing for us all is that it'd be pretty hard to patent this - there is some well-documented prior art, after all, dating all 2000 years ago.
  • by Larthallor (623891) on Friday September 10, 2004 @10:21AM (#10212272)
    Yahoo! News has a story about a robot built to walk on water, much like small insects, bugs, and of course, Jesus.
    You know, I'm getting really tired of Slashdot's American bias.

    Don't they know that not all of their readers are going to get their obscure American pop culture references? The least they could do is include a link to the guy's website, or something. Besides, I'm sure he could probably use a little publicity outside of the US.
  • Sounds nice (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sulli (195030) * on Friday September 10, 2004 @12:47PM (#10213825) Journal
    but does it run Jesux? [geocities.com]
  • by evilmousse (798341) on Friday September 10, 2004 @01:13PM (#10214075) Homepage Journal
    Dieselsweetie guestcomic by Steven Cloud [dieselsweeties.com] just yesterdays' comic too.

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