Scientific Results

Soft continuous microrobots with multiple intrinsic degrees of freedom

Year: 2016

Authors: Palagi S., Mark A.G., Melde K., Zeng H., Parmeggiani C., Martella D., Wiersma D., Fischer P.

Autors Affiliation: Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Stuttgart, 70569, Germany; European Laboratory for Non Linear Spectroscopy (LENS), University of Florence, Sesto Fiorentino, 50019, Italy; CNR-INO, Sesto Fiorentino, 50019, Italy; Institut für Physikalische Chemie, Universität Stuttgart, Stuttgart, 70569, Germany

Abstract: One of the main challenges in the development of microrobots, i.e. robots at the sub-millimeter scale, is the difficulty of adopting traditional solutions for power, control and, especially, actuation. As a result, most current microrobots are directly manipulated by external fields, and possess only a few passive degrees of freedom (DOFs). We have reported a strategy that enables embodiment, remote powering and control of a large number of DOFs in mobile soft microrobots. These consist of photo-responsive materials, such that the actuation of their soft continuous body can be selectively and dynamically controlled by structured light fields. Here we use finite-element modelling to evaluate the effective number of DOFs that are addressable in our microrobots. We also demonstrate that by this flexible approach different actuation patterns can be obtained, and thus different locomotion performances can be achieved within the very same microrobot. The reported results confirm the versatility of the proposed approach, which allows for easy application-specific optimization and online reconfiguration of the microrobot

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More Information: This work was in part supported by the European Research Council under the ERC Grant agreements 278213 and 291349, and the DFG as part of the project SPP 1726 (microswimmers, FI 1966/1-1). S.P. acknowledges support by the Max Planck ETH Center for Learning Systems. – Alemnis; Carl von Ossietzky Universitat Oldenburg; Force Dimension; Percipio Robotics; Springer; Universite Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC)
KeyWords: Automation; Data communication equipment; Finite element method; Robotics, Application-specific optimizations; Degrees of freedom (DoFs); Finite element modelling; Micro robotics; Online reconfiguration; Photo-responsive; Soft robotics; Structured Light, Degrees of freedom (mechanics)
DOI: 10.1109/MARSS.2016.7561722

English