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Wednesday, August 27, 2003

MIT leaps to solution of walking-on-water mystery
AUGUST 6, 2003

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—MIT researchers report in the Aug. 7 issue of Nature that they now understand how the insects known as water striders skim effortlessly across the surface of ponds and oceans.
In addition, the researchers created Robostrider, a mechanical water strider that uses the same fluid dynamics to move, although not as gracefully and quickly as its natural counterpart.
The hydrodynamics underlying the surface locomotion of these semiaquatic creatures (the family Gerridae and others) is poorly understood, said John W.M. Bush, associate professor of mathematics at MIT and author of the Nature study. In addition to water striders, he intends to apply his expertise in fluid dynamics to other surface swimmers.