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Reconfigurable multi-component sensors built from MEMS payloads carried by micro-robots

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3 Author(s)
Jung H. Cho ; Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA ; Mayuresh Kothare ; Mark G. Arnold

Field Programmable Robot Arrays (FPRAs) are micro-robots with onboard reconfigurable logic. The primary goal of the FPRAs is to build digital-logic structures by physical motion as well as electronic reconfiguration (commonly used in prior programmable logic). We extend the application of FPRAs here by presenting a sensor-based architecture with the following components: (a) Scratch-Drive-Actuator (SDA) micro-robots carrying MEMS sensor payload components and (b) onboard programmable logic arrays of a new kind called Field Programmable One-Hot Arrays (FPOHAs) which have two roles in the proposed system. First, each FPOHA is configured to act as a Universal Asynchronous Receiver Transmitter (UART) so that each micro-robot may receive commands via a global communication channel to guide the robots' path towards their target locations. Second, when each micro-robot reaches its target docking location, the associated FPOHA is reprogrammed to implement a control-systems algorithm that operates a payload component carried onboard the micro-robot. The docking locations are chosen so that the payload components make electrical, mechanical and/or fluidic connections, and thereby form a multi-component sensor. If a different sensor configuration is needed at a later time, the FPOHAs are reprogrammed back as UARTs, and the components may be rearranged to form a different sensor type. A variety of MEMS component types could be envisioned: micro-reactors, micro-catalysts, micro-pumps, etc. Each micro-robot would carry one such component. We assume MEMS-based micro-robots like those developed by Donald et al., with the improvement of an additional stylus arm to control left and right rotation as well as using both arms to halt.

Published in:

Sensors Applications Symposium (SAS), 2010 IEEE

Date of Conference:

23-25 Feb. 2010