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Award Abstract #1055675

PECASE: Microrobot Legs for Fast Locomotion over Rough Terrain

NSF Org: ECCS
Div Of Electrical, Commun & Cyber Sys
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Initial Amendment Date: February 17, 2011
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Latest Amendment Date: March 17, 2015
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Award Number: 1055675
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Award Instrument: Standard Grant
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Program Manager: Hao Ling
ECCS Div Of Electrical, Commun & Cyber Sys
ENG Directorate For Engineering
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Start Date: March 1, 2011
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End Date: February 28, 2017 (Estimated)
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Awarded Amount to Date: $400,000.00
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Investigator(s): Sarah Bergbreiter sarahb@umd.edu (Principal Investigator)
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Sponsor: University of Maryland College Park
3112 LEE BLDG 7809 Regents Drive
COLLEGE PARK, MD 20742-5141 (301)405-6269
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NSF Program(s): COMMS, CIRCUITS & SENS SYS
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Program Reference Code(s): 1045, 1187
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Program Element Code(s): 7564

ABSTRACT

Sarah Bergbreiter, University of Maryland College Park

CAREER: Microrobot Legs for Fast Locomotion over Rough Terrain

ABSTRACT

The objective of this research is to create microrobot legs that will enable microrobots to walk, and even run, over rough terrain. The approach is to model viscoelastic microrobot legs in a dynamic simulation environment, and to experimentally validate these models using a new microfabrication process that includes viscoelastic materials.

Intellectual Merit: The results of this work will lead to the first sub-centimeter robots that can move quickly over complex surfaces, in addition to a wealth of data to enhance our understanding of insect locomotion. Insects like cockroaches use control mechanisms embedded in their legs to prevent them from tipping over at high speeds. These same ideas can be ported to microrobots by using viscoelastic materials for dynamic stability control. Specific innovations will include parameterized models for microrobot legs, fabricated artificial insect legs with tailored compliance and damping, and integration with actuators to test the microrobot legs on different surfaces.

Broader Impacts: Microrobots that move through real-world environments at insect-like speeds can search through small cracks in rubble after natural disasters, provide low-cost sensor deployment over civil infrastructure, and engage in stealthy surveillance. In addition, robust, viscoelastic mechanisms similar to these legs can provide breakthroughs in applications like minimally invasive surgery and micromanufacturing. The educational objective of this proposal is to dramatically increase participation in microrobotics research. Currently, researchers who want to work on microrobots need access to multi-million dollar cleanroom facilities. An open-source microrobotics program will be developed using a microrobot prototyping process that does not require cleanroom access.


PUBLICATIONS PRODUCED AS A RESULT OF THIS RESEARCH

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Gerratt, Aaron P.; Penskiy, Ivan; Bergbreiter, Sarah. "In situ characterization of PDMS in SOI-MEMS," JOURNAL OF MICROMECHANICS AND MICROENGINEERING, v.23, 2013, p. 045003.

D. E. Vogtmann, S. K. Gupta, and S. Bergbreiter. "Characterization and Modeling of Elastomeric Joints in Miniature Compliant Mechanisms," ASME Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics, v.5, 2013, p. 041017. 

R. St. Pierre and S. Bergbreiter. "Gait exploration of sub-2 g robots using magnetic actuation," IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, v.1, 2016. 

BOOKS/ONE TIME PROCEEDING

D. E. Vogtmann, S. K. Gupta, and S.
Bergbreiter. "Characterization and a 2-D Analytical
Model for Elastomeric Joints in Miniature
Compliant Mechanisms", 03/01/2011-02/29/2012, "ASME IDETC 2012",  2012, "ASME IDETC 2012".

 

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