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Daniel Contreras, Ph.D. 2018

Electrical Engineering
Advisor: Prof. Pister
Research Interests: Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS), microrobotics

Completed his B.A. in physics at Pomona College in 2009. While in undergrad, he performed research working on an astronomical adaptive optics system, focusing on instrumentation. Currently he is pursuing a PhD at Berkeley focusing on MEMS, working under Kristofer Pister on a project involving microrobotics.

Walking Silicon Microrobots [BPN735]
The field of MEMS-based robotics has yet to produce a truly autonomous synthetic walking microrobot. This
project seeks to develop a new generation of MEMS walking microrobots using simple processing techniques. These
robots will be based on electrostatic linear actuators that will drive planar silicon linkages, all fabricated in the device
layer of a silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafer. By using electrostatic actuation, these legs will have the advantage of
being low power compared to other microrobot leg designs. This is key to granting the robot autonomy through low-
power energy harvesting. The ultimate goal will be to join these silicon legs with a CMOS brain and a high voltage
solar cell array to achieve a fully autonomous walking microrobot. Current work is focused on characterizing the
vertical force output and frictional losses of the planar SOI joints and linkages. We have demonstrated a 2 degree- of-
freedom leg with motors in 30 square millimeters of silicon, with a vertical range of travel of 300Ám and a horizontal
range of travel of 1mm. Forces along the vertical axis have been measured to be over 200ÁN.

Current Active Projects:

     Last Updated: Tue 2015-Sep-08 14:46:51

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