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We present a steerable, electrostatic, untethered, MEMS micro-robot,
with dimensions of 60 µm by 250 µm by 10 µm. This
micro-robot is 1 to 2 orders of magnitude smaller in size
than previous micro-robotic systems. The device consists of a
curved, cantilevered steering arm, mounted on an untethered scratch
drive actuator. These two components are fabricated monolithically
from the same sheet of conductive polysilicon, and receive a common
power and control signal through a capacitive coupling with an
underlying electrical grid. All locations on the grid receive the
same power and control signal, so that the devices can be operated
without knowledge of their position on the substrate and without
constraining rails or tethers. Control and power delivery waveforms
are broadcast to the device through the capacitive power coupling,
and are decoded by the electromechanical response of the device
body. Individual control of the component actuators provides two
distinct motion gaits (forward motion and turning), which together
allow full coverage of a planar workspace (the robot is globally
controllable). These MEMS micro-robots demonstrate turning error of
less than 3.7 °/mm during forward motion, turn with
radii as small as 176 µm, and achieve speeds of over 200
µm/sec, with an average step size of 12 nm. They have been shown
to operate open-loop for distances exceeding 35 cm without failure,
and can be controlled through teleoperation to navigate complex
A revised version of this paper has appeared in the
proceedings of the 12th International Symposium of Robotics Research
(ISRR 2005), San Francisco, CA, October 12th-15th, 2005.
Bibliographic citation for this report: [plain text] [BIB] [BibTeX] [Refer]
Or copy and paste:
Bruce R. Donald, Christopher G. Levey, Craig D. McGray, Igor Paprotny, and Daniela Rus, "A Steerable, Untethered, 250x60 micron MEMS Mobile Micro-Robot." Dartmouth Computer Science Technical Report TR2005-564, December 2005.
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