One robot that can retrieve objects drifting into deep water using a whirligig beetle’s swimming ability. Another that can deliver letters and greeting cards with the speed and grace of a dragonfly. Both were among the “Robo-Bugs” imagined and designed by third graders at Barclay Elementary/Middle School last fall.
The fun began when Chen Li, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Terradynamics Laboratory at the Whiting School, led the students on a virtual tour of his lab, which takes inspiration from insects and other creatures to design and create robots that can slither, crawl, and navigate difficult terrains. Noah Cowan, professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Laboratory for Computational Sensing and Robotics, then reviewed the students’ work and encouraged them to someday become Johns Hopkins engineers.