New 'RoboBee' Can Fly, Swim, and Take Off from Water Using Air Bubbles
The latest-generation RoboBee from Harvard University is 1,000 times lighter than any previous aerial-to-aquatic robot. Once the robot swims to the surface of the water, surrounding water is collected in a buoyancy chamber. Within the chamber, an electrolytic plate produces oxyhydrogen. This gives the robot extra buoyancy, enabling 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, and allowing it to jump off the water surface. Hybrid aerial-aquatic robots like these could be used for environmental explorations and search and rescue missions.