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Daniel Drew, Ph.D. 2018

Electrical Engineering
Advisor: Prof. Pister

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BIOGRAPHY
Daniel received his B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from Virginia Tech in 2013. His past research includes electromagnetic railgun development, polymer-metal nanoparticle compounds for energy efficient mechanical switching, and melt blown polymer nanofibers for filtration applications. He began his MS/PhD program at UC Berkeley in Fall 2013 with a MEMS concentration. Current research interests include microrobotics, electrohydrodynamic thrusters, nanomechanical switches, and wireless mesh networks. He is currently supported by the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

Autonomous Flying Microrobots [BPN826]
Among the state of the art academic research on pico air vehicles, the majority has focused on
biomimetic flight mechanisms (e.g. flapping wings). This project looks to develop a new
microfabricated transduction mechanism for flying microrobots with the goal of opening up the
application space beyond that allowed by the industry-standard quadcoptor. The proposed
mechanism, electrohydrodynamic (EHD) force generated via sub-millimeter corona discharge,
functions silently and with no moving parts, directly converting ion current to induced air
flow. Microfabricated silicon electrodes are currently being used to create devices with thrust
to weight ratios in excess of 15. Microrobots with four individually addressable thrusters
have been assembled that mass about 15mg and measure less than 2cm on a side, with the
capability of takeoff at about 2400V while carrying a 45mg additional payload of commercial 9-
axis IMU, associated passives, and FlexPCB breakout board. A new emitter electrode design with
an integrated sharp tip array pointed at the collector grid has yielded a corona onset voltage
of 1450V and an unladen takeoff voltage below 2000V, decreases of 30% and 20% respectively from
previous efforts on the quad-thruster. Current work is focused on demonstrating controlled
hovering of the robot; the first step on this path is simulated control using experimentally
measured aerodynamic drag, voltage to force response, and sensor noise values. Ultimately,
integration with a low power control and communications platform will yield a truly autonomous
flying microrobot powered by ion thrusters the ionocraft.


Current Active Projects:
BPN826
BPN903
 

     Last Updated: Thu 2017-Feb-02 12:16:03

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