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Micromachines 2011, 2(2), 295-305; doi:10.3390/mi2020295

Jitterbot: A Mobile Millirobot Using Vibration Actuation

* ,
United States Naval Academy, 105 Maryland Avenue, Annapolis, MD 21402, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 May 2011 / Revised: 7 June 2011 / Accepted: 14 June 2011 / Published: 15 June 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microrobots)
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Microrobotics is a rapidly growing field with promising applications in microsurgery and microassembly. A challenge in these systems is providing power and control signals to the robot. This project explores crawling robots that are powered and controlled through a global mechanical vibration field. Structures within the robot will cause it to respond to particular frequencies with different motion modalities. A prototype, dubbed the “jitterbot”, was cut out of a 0.75 mm sheet of steel using electric discharge machining (EDM), and has a total footprint of approximately 30 mm × 20 mm in the xy-plane. The “robot” has a tripod body (8 mm × 16 mm) with three small legs, and two suspended masses that are designed for specific resonance frequencies. The robot was tested on a plate that was vibrated vertically at frequencies ranging from 20 to 2,000 Hz. For particular resonant frequencies, the robot moves forward and turns in either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. Finite element modeling confirms that the mechanism for motion is a rocking mode that is influenced by two arms that are suspended mass springs tuned to different frequencies. This lays the groundwork for further miniaturization.
Keywords: microrobotics; vibrational actuation; seismic actuation; FEM modeling microrobotics; vibrational actuation; seismic actuation; FEM modeling
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Firebaugh, S.; Piepmeier, J.; Leckie, E.; Burkhardt, J. Jitterbot: A Mobile Millirobot Using Vibration Actuation. Micromachines 2011, 2, 295-305.

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