Dissertation talk: Untethered Microrobots of the Rolling, Jumping and Flying Kinds

Presentation | May 9 | 1-2 p.m. | Cory Hall, 521 Hogan room

 Palak Bhushan, EECS Dept, UC Berkeley

 Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS)

In this talk we will look at the design of 0.1gram centimeter-scale microbots utilizing different locomotion strategies as a means of transport. The focus won't be on the brain or useful payloads for these bots, but instead on the electro-mechanical design to make these tether-less, which is a necessary precursor to making autonomous microbots.

We start with the design of a micro-ratcheting mechanism that is able to convert small periodic motions of any actuator to a continuous rotation motion. Along with a low-voltage electromagnetic actuator and an on-board super-capacitor we are able to achieve untethered rolling motion of our microbot at 27mm/s. Next, we develop an energy storage mechanism which can release the stored energy rapidly and passively after the energy reaches a given threshold. Using this along with laser-powered photovoltaic cells we demonstrate untethered jumping up to heights of 8mm. Lastly, we design a low-power low-voltage resonant actuator to generate insect-like flapping wing motion to generate lift. Power electronics weighing < 10milligrams can power our actuator wirelessly using laser-powered photovoltaic cells. Even though power transfer is wireless, the flapping wing robot is grounded during operation. We also demonstrate the operation of a fruit fly-scale sub-milligram flapping wing robot.