Tiny vibration-powered robots are the size of the world's smallest ant

ScienceDaily | 7/18/2019 | Staff
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The prototype robots respond to different vibration frequencies depending on their configurations, allowing researchers to control individual bots by adjusting the vibration. Approximately two millimeters long -- about the size of the world's smallest ant -- the bots can cover four times their own length in a second despite the physical limitations of their small size.

"We are working to make the technology robust, and we have a lot of potential applications in mind," said Azadeh Ansari, an assistant professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. "We are working at the intersection of mechanics, electronics, biology and physics. It's a very rich area and there's a lot of room for multidisciplinary concepts."

Paper - Micro-bristle-bots - Publication - Journal - Micromechanics

A paper describing the micro-bristle-bots has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering. The research was supported by a seed grant from Georgia Tech's Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology. In addition to Ansari, the research team includes George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Jun Ueda and graduate students DeaGyu Kim and Zhijian (Chris) Hao.

The micro-bristle-bots consist of a piezoelectric actuator glued onto a polymer body that is 3D-printed using two-photon polymerization lithography (TPP). The actuator generates vibration and is powered externally because no batteries are small enough to fit onto the bot. The vibrations can also come from a piezoelectric shaker beneath the surface on which the robots move, from an ultrasound/sonar source, or even from a tiny acoustic speaker.

Vibrations - Springy - Forward - Robot - Vibration

The vibrations move the springy legs up and down, propelling the micro-bot forward. Each robot can be designed to respond to different vibration frequencies depending on leg size, diameter, design and overall geometry. The amplitude of the vibrations controls the speed at which the micro-bots move.

"As the micro-bristle-bots move up and down, the vertical motion is...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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