Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Cooler than Jesus

Okay that's going to get me in trouble but it's only a reference to the famous Beatles quote.

But seriously what is cooler than a Jesus lizard that can walk on water?

A ROBOT Jesus lizard that can walk on water!

Fortunately we know a lot about how the Jesus lizard pulls off this trick (Running on water: Three-dimensional force generation by basilisk lizards) and so we have A Novel Water Running Robot Inspired by Basilisk Lizards.

The first paper in PNAS is actually quite interesting and highlights the importance of not just the first part of the cycle (the 'slap' as the foot hits the water) but the subsequent formation of vortices in the water and strong lateral forces required for balance.

Whereas hindlimb flexion occurs during the contact phase in terrestrial running, indicating energy storage in hindlimb tendons and ligaments, this does not occur during basilisk water running (7), which suggests that the hindlimb no longer functions like a spring but instead acts more like a piston, limited to only generating force during a step. The slap phase of a step is critical for generating sufficient vertical force to balance the basilisk’s body weight, whereas both slap and stroke phases are important for generating fore–aft force. Finally, lateral undulation combined with continual sinking of the supporting limb results in the basilisk’s toppling toward the supporting limb with each step.

Now what would be cooler than a Robot Jesus Lizard?

Doh.


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