Time: 10am - 11am
Location: Raytheon Room - Egan 240
Speaker: Prof. Metin Sitti, Carnegie Mellon University
Contact: keaton (at) coe.neu.edu
Miniature mobile robots have the unique capability of accessing to small spaces and scales directly. Due to their small size and small-scale physics and dynamics, they could be agile and portable, and could be inexpensive and in large numbers if they are mass-produced. Different scale miniature robots with various locomotion capabilities are presented in this talk. These robots would have applications in the fields of mobile sensor networks, environmental monitoring, health-care, inspection, space, security, entertainment, and education. First, as palm-size and centimeter scale robots, climbing robots using gecko foot-hairs inspired micro/nano-fiber adhesives as their repeatable and power efficient attachment materials are proposed. Polymer elastomer micro-fiber arrays with angled and mushroom shaped tip endings and nanoscale and molecular scale polymer fibers on top of the micro-fiber tip endings are demonstrated. These synthetic adhesives are as strong as biological gecko foot-hairs on smooth surfaces. Various climbing robot prototypes using these adhesives show the feasibility of fibrillar adhesives based friction and adhesion enhancement on smooth and micro/nanoscale rough surfaces. Next, going down to tens or hundreds of micron scale robots, significant challenges are on-board actuation principles and power sources. As two alternative approaches, first, external powering and actuation are used to move permanent magnet 100 micron scale robot bodies on planar surfaces in air or in liquid in 2-D. As the next approach, a hybrid (biotic/abiotic) actuation principle is used to propel micron scale robotic bodies in liquid by harvesting the flagellar propulsion of attached bacteria and the chemical energy in the environment.
For more information, please see the event flier.