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Design of an Autonomous Jumping Microrobot

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2 Author(s)
Bergbreiter, S. ; Berkeley Sensor & Actuator Center, Berkeley Univ., CA ; Pister, K.S.J.

This paper presents the design and initial results for an autonomous jumping microrobot. At the millimeter size scale, jumping can offer numerous advantages for efficient locomotion, including dealing with obstacles and potentially even latching onto other larger mobile hosts. Robot design is divided into four primary areas: energy storage, actuation, power, and control. Like its biological inspiration, the flea, a jumping microrobot requires an energy storage system to store energy and release it quickly to jump. Silicone micro rubber bands have been fabricated and assembled into the microrobot for this task. To stretch these micro rubber bands, electrostatic inchworm motors are chosen as actuators due to their high forces, long throw, and low input power requirements. Finally, solar cells and a microcontroller have been chosen to power and control the microrobot. A small-scale version of this system has been prototyped with the solar cells and a simple 4-bit microcontroller driving an inchworm motor. Separately, an inchworm motor has been demonstrated pulling and storing 4.9 nJ of energy in a micro rubber band. Finally, initial tests with a probe-loaded robot prototype have demonstrated a microrobot which can potentially jump 1.2 cm straight up.

Published in:

Robotics and Automation, 2007 IEEE International Conference on

Date of Conference:

10-14 April 2007