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Aerial-Aquatic Microrobot

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Inspired by insects, researchers at the Wyss Institute and Harvard SEAS have developed a robot capable of flying…and swimming.

Once the robot swims to the surface of the water, surrounding water is collected in a buoyancy chamber. Within the chamber, an electrolytic plate produced oxyhydrogen. This gives the robot extra buoyancy, which enables it to push its wings out of the water. The water surface tension keeps the robot upright as the wings start to flap. A sparker then ignites the combustible oxyhydrogen, giving the robot a boost, allowing it to jump off the water surface. Hybrid aerial-aquatic robots could be used for environmental explorations and search and rescue missions.

Credit: Wyss Institute at Harvard University

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