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BPN735: Walking Silicon Microrobots

Project ID BPN735
Start Date Fri 2014-Jan-31 14:37:35
Last Updated Tue 2016-Aug-23 13:57:36
Abstract 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.
Status Continuing
Funding Source BSAC Member Fees
IAB Research Area Wireless, RF & Smart Dust
Researcher(s) Daniel Contreras, Hani Gomez
Advisor(s) Kristofer S. J. Pister
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