BPN735: Walking Silicon Microrobots


Our goal is to build a family of autonomous silicon robotic insects with actuating, computing, and power capabilities integrated. A silicon-on-insulator (SOI) device is used to house all three components. These robots use electrostatic actuators driving silicon linkages, all fabricated in the device layer of the wafer. By using electrostatic actuation, these actuator linkage systems have the advantage of being low power compared to other methods of actuation on microscale granting robot autonomy through low-power energy harvesting. Computation and communication are carried out with Single Chip Micro Mote (SCuM, BPN803). A Zappy2 chip with the solar cell arrays and high voltage level shifter are integrated to the silicon device to provide the power capabilities to both the actuators and computation. We now develop a new process by bonding two SOI wafers together building a robot with two SOI device layer. The new process allows further improvement in the force-to-weight ratio of the actuators with assembly-free out-of-plane motion capabilities while providing multi-layer wiring capabilities. Current design includes mechanisms and actuators for self-righting the bugs if they fall over, a dual crab-leg robots driven by a single inch-worm motor. We demonstrate the ability to directly bond CMOS ICs to the SOI device forming an SOI-PCB.

Project currently supported by: Federal

Publication date: 
February 13, 2024
Publication type: 
BSAC Project Materials (Current)
PREPUBLICATION DATA - ©University of California 2024

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