How to Walk on Water and Climb up Walls

How to Walk on Water and Climb up Walls : Animal Movement and the Robots of the Future

4.2 (20 ratings by Goodreads)
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Discovering the secrets of animal movement and what they can teach us

Insects walk on water, snakes slither, and fish swim. Animals move with astounding grace, speed, and versatility: how do they do it, and what can we learn from them? In How to Walk on Water and Climb up Walls, David Hu takes readers on an accessible, wondrous journey into the world of animal motion. From basement labs at MIT to the rain forests of Panama, Hu shows how animals have adapted and evolved to traverse their environments, taking advantage of physical laws with results that are startling and ingenious. In turn, the latest discoveries about animal mechanics are inspiring scientists to invent robots and devices that move with similar elegance and efficiency.

Hu follows scientists as they investigate a multitude of animal movements, from the undulations of sandfish and the way that dogs shake off water in fractions of a second to the seemingly crash-resistant characteristics of insect flight. Not limiting his exploration to individual organisms, Hu describes the ways animals enact swarm intelligence, such as when army ants cooperate and link their bodies to create bridges that span ravines. He also looks at what scientists learn from nature (TM)s unexpected feats "such as snakes that fly, mosquitoes that survive rainstorms, and dead fish that swim upstream. As researchers better understand such issues as energy, flexibility, and water repellency in animal movement, they are applying this knowledge to the development of cutting-edge technology.

Integrating biology, engineering, physics, and robotics, How to Walk on Water and Climb up Walls demystifies the remarkable mechanics behind animal locomotion.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 240 pages
  • 155 x 235 x 27.94mm | 566.99g
  • New Jersey, United States
  • English
  • 12 color + 33 b/w illus.
  • 0691169861
  • 9780691169866
  • 80,094

Review quote

oeRead this fascinating book to learn how sharks move, why an elephant doesn (TM)t take longer to empty its bladder than a human does, how mosquitoes fly in the rain, and how cockroaches avoid bumping into walls in the dark. Read it too to learn why the study of these seemingly obscure corners of the living world has the potential to offer enormous benefits to humanity. "Rob Dunn, author of Never Out of Season oeI recommend this book to all interested in biology and nature-inspired engineering. They will learn much and be marvelously entertained. "Bert H lldobler, coauthor of The Ants "Hu masterfully explains scientific revelations such as how insects walk on water, snakes slither and mosquitos survive rainstorms using rich tales of discovery and analogies that brim with satisfying ~aha (TM) moments."---Natalie Parletta, Cosmos "[How to Walk on Water and Climb Up Walls] answers questions you probably won (TM)t realize you even had, but they (TM)re questions with serious answers that span the worlds of physics, fluid mechanics, and biology. Throughout the book, Hu demonstrates the extraordinary value day-to-day curiosity brings to science."---Christopher Intagliata, Science Friday oeThis clear and engaging book introduces readers to the study of animal motion and mechanics. Demonstrating the effectiveness of an interdisciplinary approach to the analysis of animal structure and function, the book balances attention to pure science and discoveries about fundamental aspects of the natural world with a consideration of how research in this area could contribute to new technologies. "Sharon Swartz, Brown University oeWith infectious enthusiasm and curiosity, David Hu asks why natural selection may have favored one design over another. From flying snakes to the eyelashes of giraffes, he sees mechanical challenges everywhere, and his crazy experiments help us understand how animals dry their bodies, move, pee, and eat.
"Frans de Waal, author of Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? "Roboticists tasked with designing the machines of tomorrow are inspired by the spectacular blueprints created by nature. In How to Walk on Water and Climb up Walls, David Hu dives into these all-natural plans and explains why they (TM)re so useful to robot design. The way a snake slithers or a dog shakes off water, it seems, are far too valuable to take for granted."---Sarah Sloat, Inverse "This highly accessible and exciting book is a quick, enjoyable adventure."---Grrl Scientist, Forbes "Hu distills the complex science that demystifies how flying snakes glide and sharks make for remarkably efficient swimmers. Breaking down these concepts is not easy and Hu is up to the task, backing up the science with impassioned explainers."---Ronak Gupta, The Wire "A fascinating book."---Dominic Lenton, Engineering and Technology "[An] engrossing tour of faunal motion."---Barbara Kiser, Nature "One of Inverse's Best Science Books of 2018" "In How to Walk on Water and Climb up Walls . . . [Dr. Hu] describes both the silliness and profundity of his brand of research. . . . He refers to the urethra as a pee-pee pipe. And he corrects his son when he brags that only he, not his sister, has a pee-pee pipe. . . . Once older, his children may never forgive him for this book. But middle school science teachers and nerds everywhere will thank him."---James Gorman, New York Times
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About David Hu

David L. Hu is associate professor of mechanical engineering and biology and adjunct professor of physics at Georgia Institute of Technology. He lives in Atlanta.
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Rating details

20 ratings
4.2 out of 5 stars
5 45% (9)
4 30% (6)
3 25% (5)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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