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Magnetic principles have proved successful for untethered submillimeter microrobotics, although challenges still exist in areas of propulsion and control. This paper presents the design, analysis, and performance results for a bimorph thin film magnetic microrobot utilizing the magnetostrictive principle as a secondary oscillating operation mode. The microrobot is no larger than 580 μm in its planar dimension and its total thickness is less than 5 μm. As a robot with magnetic material, it can be operated in a pushing/pulling mode in orthogonal directions for movement in a plane, while it's powered with an external magnetic field as low as 1 mT. For the secondary oscillating operation mode utilizing the magnetostrictive principle, in-plane strain is induced, resulting in bending and blocking forces on the robot. These forces are theoretically calculated to prove enough drive force can be generated in this mode. The design is further abstracted and translated into a piezoelectric cantilever FEM model to confirm the theorectical results. Microrobot fabrication and test-bed development based on this analysis is shown, which enabled us to participate in the final competition in the 2010 NIST Mobile Microrobot Challenge, with good performance in the dash and freestyle events. Finally, we discuss the testing results in various dry and fluid environments along with recommendations for future investigation and improvements. Keywords: microrobot, magnetostrictive, bimorph.
Date of Conference: 9-13 May 2011