text-only page produced automatically by Usablenet Assistive Skip all navigation and go to page content Skip top navigation and go to directorate navigation Skip top navigation and go to page navigation
National Science Foundation
design element
Search Awards
Recent Awards
Presidential and Honorary Awards
About Awards
Grant Policy Manual
Grant General Conditions
Cooperative Agreement Conditions
Special Conditions
Federal Demonstration Partnership
Policy Office Website

Award Abstract #1055675

PECASE: Microrobot Legs for Fast Locomotion over Rough Terrain

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


Sarah Bergbreiter, University of Maryland College Park

CAREER: Microrobot Legs for Fast Locomotion over Rough Terrain


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.


Note:  When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

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. 


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".


Please report errors in award information by writing to: awardsearch@nsf.gov.



Print this page
Back to Top of page
Research.gov  |  USA.gov  |  National Science Board  |  Recovery Act  |  Budget and Performance  |  Annual Financial Report
Web Policies and Important Links  |  Privacy  |  FOIA  |  NO FEAR Act  |  Inspector General  |  Webmaster Contact  |  Site Map
National Science Foundation Logo
The National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 22230, USA
Tel: (703) 292-5111, FIRS: (800) 877-8339 | TDD: (800) 281-8749
  Text Only Version