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Design of low-power silicon articulated microrobots

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We are creating a class of autonomous low-power silicon articulated microrobots fabricated on a 1 cm2 silicon die and mounted with actuators, a controller, and a solar array. By taking advantage of the high force-density of electrostatic actuators in the micro scale, low-power actuators can be made for microrobots. A micromotor with an energy efficiency of 4%, that uses CMOS-compatible supply voltage, and has a motion resolution of 2 μm has been demonstrated in a volume of 0.015 mm3. Articulated two degrees-of-freedom legs with built-in mechanical couplings have been fabricated in a commercial micromachining foundry (MUMPs) and successfully assembled. Lowpower CMOS electronics will be used to control the robot locomotion and a solar array chip will be used to power the microrobot.


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