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The First Launch of an Autonomous Thrust-Driven Microrobot Using Nanoporous Energetic Silicon

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5 Author(s)
Churaman, W.A. ; United States Army Res. Lab., Adelphi, MD, USA ; Currano, L.J. ; Morris, C.J. ; Rajkowski, J.E.
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As the capability and complexity of robotic platforms continue to evolve from the macro to the micron scale, the challenge of achieving autonomy requires the development of robust, lightweight architectures. These architectures must provide a platform upon which actuators, control, sensing, power, and communication modules are integrated for optimal performance. In this paper, the first autonomous jumping microrobotic platform is demonstrated using a hybrid integration approach to assemble on-board control, sensing, power, and actuation directly onto a polymer chassis. For the purposes of this paper, jumping is defined as brief parabolic motion achieved via an actuation pulse at takeoff. In this paper, the actuation pulse comes from the rapid release of chemical energy to create propulsion. The actuation pulse lasts several microseconds and is achieved using a novel high-force/low-power thrust actuator, nanoporous energetic silicon, resulting in 250 μJ of kinetic energy delivered to the robot and a vertical height of approximately 8 cm.

Published in:

Microelectromechanical Systems, Journal of  (Volume:21 ,  Issue: 1 )