He Shoemaker (Gerris lacustris) is a species of heteriptera heteriptera common in the surface of the fresh waters of Europe, including the Iberian Peninsula. It glides over the water, resting on its very long second pair of legs, which has an apical pad formed by hydrophobic hairs, which allows it form a tiny airbag on the surface. Thus it remains in constant flotation.
Now a work published in Science They show us robots that are capable of jumping over the surface tension of water just as shoemakers do. The researchers recorded with high speed cameras the jump of these insects, as you can see in the video that heads this post. "We observe that the shoemakers jump with the same efficiency both inside and outside the water," he said Ho-Young Kim, a scientist from the University of Seoul and co-author of the study.
The secret of this robotic ability lies in the incorporation of an inverted catapult mechanism, thus achieving that the robot rise 14 centimeters above the water:
When the insect is going to jump its legs progressively accelerate to prevent the water from receding too quickly and losing contact (...) Although several small robots had already been inspired by the shoemaker because of its ability to float and move on the water, none of them he had made a vertical jump.